Joel Matip could make his 50th Premier League appearance for Liverpool if the Cameroon international is to feature in the Reds league fixture on the south coast.
The elegant centre-back joined Jürgen Klopp’s team from Schalke in the summer of 2016 on a free transfer, bringing his poise and presence to the Reds from the Bundesliga.
Matip’s debut season was hampered by injury and suspension but the 26-year-old nevertheless showcased his ability to prevent attacks at one end and be the basis for forays in the opposite direction.
Now midway through his second term on Merseyside, the former Schalke player has declared his unhappiness with form – with plenty of objectives to accomplish before he can raise his personal mark.
"I'm not satisfied"
When asked by the media about his form this season the 6 ft 5 giant responded by saying: "It’s OK but I would not say I’m satisfied.
"It was a good beginning and I hope a lot more good games will follow,” he told Liverpoolfc.com ahead of Sunday’s clash with Southampton.
The Reds travel to the south coast in the thick of a congested battle for a position in the Premier League’s top four places, having drawn 2-2 at home to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend despite leading with minutes to spare.
However, despite dropping two points the partnership between Reds record signing Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren showed signs of promise and argued a case that the pair both deserve to start on Sunday.
However, the fight for places does not come as a surprise for Matip but neither does it worry him: “There are a lot of really good teams in this league, everybody knew it before,” he says.
“They have a lot of quality. But we don’t have to hide. We’re doing our job and looking forward. We’re confident we’ll do a good job in the league.
“Southampton are not in the best shape at the moment but it will be a hard and tough fight. We have to go 100 per cent to get something.
“We have a good feeling, we have enough self-confidence and we are looking forward to the game. We have to always stay concentrated. We have enough quality to be in front after 90 minutes", Matip added.
Matip hoping to feature to mark half-century of league games
Matip’s last start for Liverpool came in the comprehensive 3-0 win at Huddersfield Town late last month – a match in which he set a new club record.
The Reds no. 26 attempted 161 passes at the John Smith’s Stadium, more than any Liverpool player has managed in a single game since Opta began collecting such data in 2003-04.
“That’s a lot of passes!” he responded when informed his achievment.
“But we have a lot of possession. We have to control the ball; if we have the ball, the other team cannot score – that’s part of the job.
“We always try to play but we will not force it if it’s not possible. We are also able to use long balls. We don’t always have to play but it can be a strength of ours if we keep the ball and don’t let the other team control it. For me, it helps if I’ve got the ball", Matip continued.
Van Dijk's quality will 'help the team'
Matip was left on the bench for the meeting with Spurs at Anfield the World's most expensive defender Van Dijk was restored to Klopp’s line-up.
The Netherlands international has already positively influenced his new colleagues on and off the pitch, according to his fellow centre-half.
Matip reports: “He is a great person. We can laugh together – he is good for the team and with his quality he will help the team.
“We now have more players at centre-back, so we can change if somebody is not in the best shape and there is no loss of quality. He will help the team, he has done it from the beginning.
“He is a complete defender. Maybe in a few moments he is more physical, but he is a complete defender, of course, who can help us in every situation.”