Liverpool defender Joel Matip says that his team have practiced defending against Manchester United’s “long balls”.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Matip says that he is not just focused on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but defending as a team.
Matip has impressed in his early Liverpool displays, but Jugen Klopp’s side have not kept a clean sheet in the Premier League yet this season.
Matip’s comments follow Gary Neville’s suggestion that United would ‘go long’ against Liverpool.
“[Ibrahimovic] is an amazing player, a player who everybody knows,” Matip says.
“But Costa was an amazing player. We defend all together as a team.”
“I know most of the time I’ll play directly against a striker and he will be my opponent but there’s always movement and there are many good players in each team, so you cannot always look on one player.
“You can’t think ‘he is the big famous guy’. The other players are good too so you have to defend against them all.”
Matip spoke about what Liverpool expected from Manchester United:
“We have already started to stretch our players!”
“This week we practiced against crosses and high balls. We have to defend against this and we have lots of practices.
“If the ball comes in my area I have to give everything to try and clear it.”
Matip on preparing to face Manchester United: "This week we practiced against crosses and high balls."
— Jonathan Northcroft (@JNorthcroft) October 15, 2016