Liverpool chief lauds unlikely ‘extraordinary’ player

Matt Stead

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has paid tribute to seven players – including the “extraordinary” Joel Matip.

Matip has been the unlikeliest of heroes in a phenomenal Liverpool season, starting it as perhaps the fourth-choice centre-half but ending it as part of a wonderful defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

His season could yet end with a Champions League winner’s medal, which would be testament to how well the club has been run in recent years.

That has not evaded Liverpool chairman Werner, who feels their business in the transfer market is worthy of the utmost praise.

“It’s a great compliment to the whole organisation,” Werner told the Liverpool Echo.

“These players were identified by Michael Edwards, Barry Hunter and Dave Fallows and their team.

“I can’t say enough good things about Virgil van Dijk. His fellow professionals voted him as the best player in the league.

“You can never be 100% sure when you sign a player whether he’s going to live up to your expectations. But he has really anchored the squad.

“One important thing that I know our recruitment team look at when considering potential signings is the character and heart of these players. Virgil is just an outstanding human being and a leader.

“That doesn’t take away from the pride we have in Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane sharing the Golden Boot. They have exceeded expectations again. Mo had a wonderful year after his extraordinary first year with us.

“You could go right through the squad because it’s been such a team effort. The contributions of players like Andy Robertson, James Milner, Jordan Henderson…. the extraordinary play of Joel Matip.

“It’s been a joy to watch Jurgen’s brand of attacking football. It’s been a pleasure as a fan to enjoy what’s been an historic season.”