Jurgen Klopp has praised “fantastic” and “outstanding” Liverpool centre-half Joel Matip.
Matip started the season on the fringes of Liverpool’s starting XI, playing just 95 minutes of their first 14 games.
But he has taken on a role of greater importance after injuries to Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren.
The 27-year-old has made 18 appearances in all competitions, conceding just six goals in nine Premier League starts, and even shutting out Bayern Munich without the aid of Virgil van Dijk in the Champions League.
Klopp has been impressed with his summer 2016 free signing.
“It’s been very impressive since he came into the side,” he said.
“Before he got injured he was outstanding, particularly against Napoli.
“Losing him then was the wrong moment but he is a high-class player and doing a very good job.
“He loves what he’s doing and it’s really nice to have him around,
“The centre-half couples we’ve had this season have worked really well.
“I’ve never had this situation with five centre-halves in my life, including Nat Phillips, and now we don’t even have three.
“But Matip was fantastic the other night.”