Thierry Henry praises Liverpool defender Joel Matip for his scoring ability and jokes that he has outdone co-pundit Jamie Carragher as he greets the Reds’ gritty performance against Ajax.
- The 31-year-old Cameroonian went home on Tuesday evening, the winner of the Reds
- Liverpool defeated Ajax 2-1 to claim the first points in this year’s Champions League
- Thierry Henry claimed Joel Matip deserved more credit for his contributions
- He joked that Matip had scored more than ex-red defender Jamie Carragher
Thierry Henry praised Joel Matip after the defender’s late header sealed Liverpool’s first Champions League win on Tuesday, while the Arsenal legend also praised the Reds for not giving up their quest for a winner against Ajax.
Matip took the Reds’ first points of their Champions League campaign and his 89th-minute header took a late win over Ajax.
France’s all-time top goalscorer described the 31-year-old Cameroonian as “a guy who isn’t talked about much”. CBS Sports’ coverage of the European elite competition.
Thierry Henry praised Joel Matip after his late header sealed Liverpool’s victory
Central defender Joel Matip rose above two Ajax defenders and took home the winner in the 89th minute
But Henry insisted that the defender deserved more credit and should be named among his star teammates.
“And you’re going to be talking about Van Dijk, and you’re going to be talking about Salah or Mane or Firmino earlier,” he said.
“But he always comes and does his job and he often scores important goals actually,” added Henry in his analysis of the Liverpool defender.
Henry insisted the defender deserved more credit for his contribution to Jürgen Klopp .’s squad
Former Reds defender Jamie Carragher, who also commented for CBS Sports, didn’t necessarily agree with the Frenchman.
“Hmm, I can’t really remember any others,” said the former England centre-back, commenting on Henry’s analysis of Matip’s goalscoring contributions for Liverpool in his seventh season with the Reds.
“Look,” Henry replied sharply. “Not always, but when he scores, they’re good. They are important. I think he already scores more than you.’
“It’s not difficult, though,” he added lightly to his fellow expert.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher claimed he couldn’t remember a Matip goal
With Matip’s goal in need of confirmation through goal-line technology, Liverpool turned their heels to claim the first three points in Europe’s most elite competition this season.
“It was Virgil Van Dijk who looked very dangerous all night. But Joel Matip is a huge presence. Just think of how many goals Liverpool got through Konate from set pieces in the Champions League last season,” Carragher said of Liverpool’s second goal from a corner.
“To be honest I wasn’t sure,” said Matip of his winner who ended his nine-year drought in the Champions League. “When I saw the referee (award), the emotions came up.”
Goal-line technology confirmed Matip’s winner after Dusan Tadic tried to take him off the line
It wasn’t just the result that was huge for Liverpool. It was also the way the England team performed, a week after the humiliation of Napoli’s 4-1 defeat in the opening round of Group A matches.
The pressure and intensity against Ajax were better, something Carragher had already noticed full-time.
“They played very well. It was a typical Klopp performance. Lots of energy, Ajax stop with the ball and sometimes,” the CBS Sports pundit said, before adding: “The way Liverpool play, they deserved to win the game.”
Henry supported his counterpart’s assessment, going on to say that the Reds never looked like a team that would settle for a draw.
Mohamed Salah rediscovered his form to open the scoring for Liverpool in the first half
“You expect that from Liverpool, especially offensively on the Kop” […]. In all honesty, they didn’t stop. They didn’t stop running,’ he said.
“They haven’t stopped believing and when you’re in situations like this, like Jamie said, and you’re having a bad run, it seems like nothing is going your way. But they didn’t give up. That is the most important.’
Liverpool are now looking forward to the group matches against Rangers after the international break with a good heart.
“I think everyone understood that we had to make a very different shift before the game,” Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said in a post-match interview. “We did.”