Monday Jul 23, 2018. 09:01
Cameroon defender Joel Matip says he is eager to re-establish himself in Liverpool’s first XI after injury curtailed his participation last season.
The Indomitable Lions centre-back had to sit on the sidelines through the latter part of the Reds’ thrilling run to the UEFA Champions League final after a thigh injury he sustained against Crystal Palace derailed his campaign.
Matip underwent surgery in April but has since recovered and is looking forward to playing for Liverpool on their pre-season tour in America.
“Nobody wants to see big games from the stand as a player,” the Cameroonian explained. “It’s not the best part if you’re injured and have to look but it belongs to players' lives.
“I’m on a good way now. The fitness is not at 100% but I’m not the only player who needs this time.
“This is preparation to get a good fitness level and I feel self-confident.
“I hope there will be more finals to play in. Of course these are the goals. We want to achieve something.
“We will see how the seasons starts but we have to be there from the beginning. A lot of things are possible if we start well.”
In Matip's absence, Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk established themselves as the first-choice central defensive pairing.
However, with Lovren given an extended break due to Croatia’s run to the World Cup final, Matip may be able to force himself into manager Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up for the start of the Premier League season next month.
“We have a really big and high-quality squad,” he added. “This will help us through the season because we have a lot of games and injuries belong to the game so some players will always be missing.
“It’s good if another player can come directly in without losing that much quality.
“Dejan did great at the World Cup. He went to the final so that speaks for itself. We have a lot of self confidence. I also have no doubt about my quality.
“The new signings have made a great look from the beginning and they will help us this season.”