Jurgen Klopp hails new Liverpool signing Joel Matip
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 16/02/16 10:46pm
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool have acquired a "top-class" defender in Joel Matip and believes the Cameroon international can make an immediate impact in the Premier League.
On Monday, Liverpool announced they had agreed to sign Matip from Schalke on a free transfer at the end of the current season.
Matip will play out the remainder of the 2015-16 Bundesliga campaign with Schalke before making the move to Merseyside and Klopp is delighted he will be able to call on him next season.
"I am very happy. Everybody who knows him would have been interested," the Liverpool manager told the club's official website.
"Maybe he's not the most famous player in England, but he's 24 and has played about 200 Bundesliga games for Schalke.
"He is a top-class centre-half, very young but experienced. You don't have that too often. To be honest, when I had my break I thought for the next club, I should think about Joel, if there was a need.
"He never played for my team, he did the extreme opposite - he played for their biggest opponent. Maybe that says a lot about his quality. Even when he played for the team you cannot love as Dortmund manager, you see his quality. Then that's real quality.
"The chance was there and Joel wanted to do something different. He is and was really close to his club; it's normal, he played there since he was a youth player. I think there was no chance for another Bundesliga club in this moment, but Liverpool was the right name and the right club.
"Maybe it was a little advantage that I know him and he knows me. He's still a young player and for a young player, it could help to make the decision when there's a manager from your home country.
"It's a good situation, hopefully a win-win. In this moment, it looks like this. Now he has to stay healthy and after the summer break we can start working together."
Liverpool have struggled defensively this season and have conceded 36 times so far - the most goals for a team currently placed in the Premier League's top 10.
But Klopp hopes the addition of Matip next season will help strengthen his side's defensive resolve.
He added: "He's a real centre-half. He is physically strong, a really tall boy - taller than me. It doesn't happen too often that I have to [looks upwards].
"He's quick, he's flexible in his movements and good in technical things. He has played in different systems, with four or three defenders. He scores goals, four or five per season minimum. He is good in the one-on-one and quick. It's a package.
"He has to learn, that's normal, but he has learned a lot in the last few years and made big steps in his development. For us, it was a chance. You can't always make transfers only to solve a problem.
"I know people are saying our defence isn't that good. We have to defend better as a team, first of all. It's not for solving a problem - it's a transfer with a really good perspective for the future, a long-term thing. But he can help immediately and that's really good for us."