Liverpool fans have taken to social media in the light of defender Joel Matip's return to action from injury, and reaction has been mixed to say the least.
As the 6'5 centre-back made his comeback from injury during a 60-minute practice game at the club's training ground between both senior and academy players, Matip's imminent restoration into Jurgen Klopp's first-team squad had prompted fresh Twitter outburst.
Despite having been a regular fixture in the Reds' starting XI since making the switch from German side Schalke 04 on a free transfer in February 2016, the 27-year-old continues to divide opinion as to whether he fits into the current Liverpool picture.
Twitter has again seen both sides of the argument regarding the defender. There are those that believe Matip is an unsung hero in the Reds back line...
Really unfair the way people try to change history to pretend certain players never made a big contribution for us.— Dan McLaughlin (@Dan23_92) August 16, 2018
The likes of Mignolet, Karius, Matip and Lallana all played a big part in taking us this far and it's just plain wrong when people who don't rate them deny that.
Some even believe he is vital in the Reds current gegenpressing system.
I rate Matip - very good reader of the game and he distributes the ball very well from defence. Obviously lacks pace and I would like him to be more physical/imposing but I feel he still has a lot to offer as a squad player if he can stay fit. That's a big if, though. https://t.co/XgVWKViWw6— Josh Hawkins (@JoshHawkins96) August 16, 2018
Whilst others are prepared to stick by their manager, if Klopp feels Matip is good enough.
I trust in Jürgen. If he thinks Matip's good enough, then he's good enough!— Kop On! An LFC Podcast (@koponpodcast) August 16, 2018
As Virgil van Dijk settles into the role as first-choice centre-half at Anfield, with only Joe Gomez the only other recognised fit defender currently at Liverpool's disposal, the news that World Cup finalist Dejan Lovren is set for another month out with a stomach issue has sent a shudder down many a Liverpudlian spine with the possibility of Matip making a return to the first XI.
4th choice for me behind VVD, Gomez and Lovren. Need to build VVD and Gomez partnership which will be the future pairing for years to come. Plus Matip can’t kick a ball properly 😳— Chris Phoenix (@chrisphoenix75) August 16, 2018
Lovren extended absence after this summer, for some is bad news...
Lmfaooooooo I pity you guy. Lovren>matip— pleasedonotstressme (@Gbemiga__A) August 16, 2018
Whilst another sees Matip as simply too passive.
where lovrens problem was getting a redmist when things weren't going right Matip seems to be a bit too on the passive side— Heathroi (@heathroi) August 16, 2018
Whatever the case, in spite of their continuing free-scoring ways that seem set to continue this term, if Klopp's side are to make a concerted challenge for a first Premier League title, it is likely to be their defence that could decide the Reds' destiny this season.
After blasting out of the traps against West Ham last weekend, a trip to south London and Crystal Palace may come too soon for Matip, but with options now limited to centre-back pairings, the Cameroonian may once more come in for consideration, regardless of fan consensus.