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Jurgen Klopp has revealed he was the one who wanted to sign Joel Matip after watching him during his time in Germany.
Matip has agreed to join Liverpool when his contract with Bundesliga side Schalke expires in the summer, saving the Premier League club a hefty transfer fee.
Klopp first noticed the 24-year-old while he was in charge of Borussia Dortmund and continued to track his progress in the few months between leaving the German club and taking charge at Anfield and he is delighted he has agreed to make the move to the Premier League.
"I am very happy. Everybody who knows him would have been interested. Maybe he’s not the most famous player in England, but he’s 24 and has played about 200 Bundesliga games for Schalke," Klopp told the club's official website.
"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."
The Cameroon international has already represented his country on 27 occasions, including at each of the past two World Cups, and Klopp is confident he will thrive in the Premier League.
"He’s a real centre-half. He is physically strong, a really tall boy – taller than me!" he added.
"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.
"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."