‘If I’m Joel Matip, I’m fuming’: Rio Ferdinand says Liverpool defender should be FURIOUS after Jurgen Klopp dropped him for Ibrahima Konate for their Champions League semi-final clash with Villarreal
- Joel Matip was dropped to the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League match
- Defender Matip, 30, made way for Ibrahima Konate at centre back for the Reds
- Boss Jurgen Klopp made three changes for the Villarreal clash on Wednesday
- And Rio Ferdinand insisted Matip will be ‘fuming’ with the German’s decision
Rio Ferdinand has claimed Joel Matip will be ‘fuming’ after being relegated to the bench for Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Villarreal.
The Reds face Unai Emery’s LaLiga side at Anfield in their European semi-final first-leg tie on Wednesday night, with defender Matip dropped by manager Jurgen Klopp for Ibrahima Konate.
And Ferdinand insisted the Cameroonian star has a right to be annoyed given his excellent performances this season.
Rio Ferdinand has claimed Liverpool defender Joel Matip ‘will be fuming’ after being dropped
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp withdrew Matip for the side’s Champions League tie against Villarreal
And BT Sport pundit Ferdinand insisted the decision was harsh given Matip’s performances
He said: ‘If I’m Matip, I’m fuming. Because he’s been exceptional this season. You’re talking one of the best defenders in the league this season. But set-pieces are a big thing, so that’s why Konate is in, 100%.’
Fellow pundit Peter Crouch added: ‘I think it’s the strongest (starting team). Other than Matip, you could argue between him and Konate… that for me at the moment is the strongest side available. Konate, the reason for that is at set-pieces he’s proved in previous rounds that he can be a difference.’
Klopp himself said: ‘It’s because of the situation that we are in and the needs of the game, the opponent. I could have lined up 10 other players with no problem at all. They’re all in good shape, want to play and all fine.’
Pundits Peter Crouch (left) and Michael Owen (right) discussed Konate’s inclusion over Matip
Konate’s inclusion was one of three changes made to the side which beat fierce rivals Everton 2-0 on Sunday, with Jordan Henderson replacing Naby Keita in midfield and Luis Diaz replacing Diogo Jota up front.
Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen concurred with Klopp’s decision, saying: ‘I think Matip all season has been number one, but just the goals that Konate has scored in the last few games that he’s played, he does add something different.
‘That’s a bit of a toss of a coin, but apart from that, I think – I know a lot of people will probably shouting at the telly saying (forward Diogo) Jota, but who for? – that’s the best team.’