Cameroonian international footballer Joel Matip has revealed why he jumped at the chance to move to Anfield as he insisted: “I want to test myself against the best.” Th 24-year-old defender ended his 16-year association with Schalke when he joined the Reds as a free agent this summer, Liverpool Echo reports.
Matip says it was his boyhood dream to play in the Premier League and the Bochum-born centre-back is ready to embrace the pressure of life at Liverpool.
“I’m settling in really good,” Matip said.
“People have been really nice to me and it’s been a huge new experience. I am very happy to be here.
“I had 16 years at Schalke. It was my hometown club, I grew up there my whole life and it was a big decision to leave. It wasn’t easy to leave there. But it was an easy decision to decide to join Liverpool.
“When I was a child I wanted to play in the Premier League and Liverpool was a great and famous club that everybody knows so it was a great honour to be playing for them.
“It was an easy decision and I am happy with it. I had a decision to stay at Schalke or go out in to the world and I am happy with the decision I made.”
I think I’m good enough
Matip, who has featured in the pre-season wins over Tranmere and Fleetwood, is relishing the prospect of coming up against the likes of Sergio Aguero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Diego Costa, Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane this season.
The 6ft 4ins defender will provide some much needed aerial prowess to the Liverpool backline.
“That’s why I came here – I want to play against the best to become better,” he said.
“That was my thinking and my choice and I’m really looking forward to it.
“There’s pressure but I want that – it’s the reason why I came here. I think I am good enough and I’ll show this.
“Leadership is something I will have to grow into but I am also sure I have the ability for that position and from the way I approach the game.
“My plus points? I am very good under high balls, especially at corners and set-pieces.
“The Premier League is much more physical and I will have to adapt a little bit because the style of play is a little different. But I have enough self confidence to say that I am good enough for it.”
The 24-year-old will form a central defensive partnership with Dejan Lovren. With Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez suffering injury setbacks, there will be a big responsibility on Matip’s shoulders.
He’s still building up his fitness after minor surgery back in May but insists he will be firing on all cylinders come mid-August.
“I had an operation, two years ago I had some screws in my right foot, because it was broken,” Matip added.
“I had an operation to have them out at the end of the season and for a few weeks I had to go on crutches.
“But now I can play and in a few weeks before the season starts I will be back to full level.
“I am not quite at the level in terms of jumping, but I will be ready for the start of the season.”