Here at Dream Team headquarters we like ensure as many gaffers as possible are thoroughly informed by the time they come to confirming their XI ahead of the new season.
With Game Week 1 now firmly in sight (kicking off with Crystal Palace v Arsenal on August 5th) it’s a good time to highlight the players who are seemingly being overlooked.
Enter Joel Matip (£5m).
At the time of writing, the Cameroonian centre-back features in just 2.1% of teams.
For comparison, that makes him less popular than Neco Williams (£2m), William Saliba (£2.5m) and Clement Lenglet (£3m).
Obviously those players are in a lower price bracket than Matip and therefore direct comparisons are subject to criticism but however you look at it, it’s surprising that an asset who was so successful last season has been overlooked by 97.9% of the gaffers who have created their team ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
The 30-year-old amassed 236 points in 2021/22, a tally only bettered by four other defenders.
The list of players he outperformed in his position include: Antonio Rudiger, Reece James (£5.5m), Thiago Silva (£5m), Aymeric Laporte (£4.5m) and Ruben Dias (£5m).
So why are so many Dream Team bosses disregarding such a successful asset?
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Firstly, while Matip was the fifth-best defender overall last term he was just the fourth-best defender at Anfield.
The holy trinity of Trent Alexander-Arnold (£6.5m), Virgil van Dijk (£6m) and Andy Robertson (£5.5m) would have made up the podium had Joao Cancelo (£6.5m) not crashed the party with his 275-point haul.
So if a manager decides they want some Liverpool representation in defence, they tend to opt for one of the attack-minded full-backs or the imperious Dutchman.
If the Reds’ defensive quartet are the Beatles then Matip is Ringo Starr.
It’s also possible that gaffers are wary of the prospect of Ibrahima Konate (£4m) playing a more prominent role going forward.
The France international made 29 appearances for the Reds last term with Jurgen Klopp making a point of protecting the injury-prone Matip through rotation.
That being said, the more senior of the pair featured in 43 games and racked up 1,218 more minutes than former RB Leipzig man.
It’s certainly possible that Konate will be given more minutes this coming season to aid his development, especially with Matip turning 31 during the first week of the campaign, but the latter remains Van Dijk’s first-choice partner for now.
It’s interesting that Konate has an ownership of 5.3% at this stage – clearly he is expected to supersede Matip sooner rather than later by some.
Additionally, perhaps the quality of the other options in Matip’s price range have contributed to his low ownership so far.
Ben Chilwell joins the aforementioned Dias and Silva among defenders starting at £5m, three names who have produced significant returns when fit in recent times.
Despite all this, the fact remains that Matip is a regular starter, available for cheaper than Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, who represents the team that utterly dominated defence in Dream Team last time around.