Joel Matip speaks out as Liverpool exit confirmed after eight years at club

Liverpool defender Joel Matip

Liverpool have confirmed defender Joel Matip will leave on a free transfer this summer after eight years at the club.

Matip was one of Jurgen Klopp's first signings as Reds manager having snapped been snapped up from Schalke as a free agent for the start of the 2016/17 campaign.

The 32-year-old went on to make 201 appearances and score 11 goals for Liverpool, and won the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, League Cup and FA Cup.

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The former Cameroon international also provided six assists, the first of which teed up Divock Origi to score the second goal in the 2-0 Champions League final success over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid in 2019.

However, injuries meant he missed out on the Club World Cup triumph later that year, and was also absent for the League Cup triumph against Chelsea earlier this season.

Matip's time at Liverpool was hampered by regular fitness setbacks, the most recent of which saw him suffer ACL damage against Fulham in December that ended his season, the game ultimately proving his last for the Reds.

The most amount of appearances he managed during a season was 43 in the 2021/22 campaign, having returned from a serious ankle injury that had ruled him out for half of the previous term.

Matip has been a hugely popular member of the squad throughout his stay and long assumed similar status among supporters.

The defender said: “It has been eight wonderful years here in Liverpool,” he said.

“I was allowed to be part of an exciting history with a great coach and an astonishing team in an extraordinary club. We have achieved great titles and have the best fans in the world.

“I am full of gratitude for the wonderful time I was able to experience with these unique people supporting the club and the fans who love Liverpool FC.

“My wife and I have felt welcomed and supported from day one and together with the kids we had the best imaginable time here.

“We will always keep it in special memories.”

Meanwhile, Klopp said: "In all the years that I have been involved in football, I am not sure I have come across too many players who are more loved than Joel Matip. I’m not even sure it would be possible to say anything bad about him.

“A wonderful professional, a wonderful footballer and a wonderful human being – we have been blessed to have him with us for as long as we have and now all we can do is wish him well as he heads off in a new direction.

“Joel’s qualities as a player are there for all to see and as a club we have benefited from them since the first moment that he joined. I don’t think he has had too many headlines over the years but he has only ever been a very famous figure within our group.

“I have said before that if there was one person who wouldn’t care if he was underrated it would be Joel, but the truth is we could not have rated him more highly. Not only has he set the standards for himself, he has set them for others and this is one of the main reasons why his time here has been so successful.”

Klopp added: “If I had to choose one moment from his time here it would definitely be his assist for Divock Origi at the Champions League final in Madrid. This was the touch that detonated an explosion in the LFC family. What a moment. What a player.

“We wish Joel and his family the very best for the future.”