LIVERPOOL maintained the tension in the title race with a win over Brighton on Saturday.
Manchester City, who face Crystal Palace this evening, remain in pole position but Jurgen Klopp’s side are making them work for it having won eight consecutive Premier League fixtures.
Luis Diaz (£3.2m) and Mohamed Salah (£8.1m) scored the goals on the south coast – the latter’s 20th of the league campaign coming from the penalty spot – but it was Joel Matip (£5.0m) who scooped the Star Man award when all was said and done.
It was the Cameroonian centre-back’s chipped throughball that the led to the first goal as the Reds’ Colombian winger bravely headed home despite a reckless challenge from Robert Sanchez (£1.4m).
Add in a clean sheet and Matip banked 15 points at the Seagulls’ expense to continue his fine run of returns.
The 30-year-old has produced 57 points in his last seven outings to take his overall tally to 159.
He’s now the eighth-best defender in the game and finds himself just two points behind Antonio Rudiger (£4.9m), who is almost twice as popular.
Matip’s ownership of 9.7% is respectable but given his current form it’s rather surprising than he hasn’t poked his head above the 10% mark.
At the time of writing, he’s the highest-scoring asset in his position in Game Week 28 and with another fixture to fulfil (vs Arsenal on Wednesday night) he could well finish as such.
Backing Matip does come with a caveat for Dream Team bosses.
Virgil van Dijk (£7.0m) is undoubtedly the senior centre-back at Anfield and the role of his secondary is shared between Matip and summer signing Ibrahima Konate (£4.1m), who has made 18 appearances for the Reds this season.
Matip may have racked up 57 points in his last seven games but it’s worth noting that Liverpool have played ten fixtures in that time.
Konate missed Liverpool’s second leg against Inter after picking up a knock and was not present on the bench at the Amex on Saturday.
However, the 22-year-old Frenchman is not expected to be sidelined for long and it’s likely Klopp will continue to rotate the pair as the season reaches its climax.
Still, Matip’s points total can’t be ignored – he’s now 35 points clear of Ruben Dias (£4.5m) who still has a huge ownership of 24.6% despite his injury setback.
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