Schalke defender Joel Matip has agreed to join Liverpool on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to the ​Mirror​.

The 24-year-old centre half is out of contract with the Bundesliga side at the end of the current campaign, and is looking for a new challenge. David Maddock reports that Jurgen Klopp has long been an admirer of the player having seen him up close during his time with Borussia Dortmund, and has moved to secure the player's signing on a pre-contractual agreement.

Though the deal has not yet been officially confirmed, the Cameroon international is reported to be happy to go ahead with the move to Merseyside. Schalke had hoped to extend the player's deal in Gelsenkirchen but he has turned down their advances and chosen to move under the Bosman ruling.

Securing the deal for Matip is significant, as it appears to suggest that the loan deal the Reds secured for Steven Caulker on Tuesday will be nothing more than a short term measure. Klopp has been struck with a host of injuries to his centre halves recently, and the QPR man cut his loan short at Southampton to come in as cover for the Reds' back line.

The loan deal lasts until the end of the season, but while it had been suggested that Caulker could earn himself a permanent deal with a series of strong performances, it appears the long-term answer is already in place in the shape of Matip.

Klopp praised the signing of Caulker to the ​club's website on Tuesday, stating that the England defender is exactly what the club need at present: “We looked for Premier League experience because in this short time, you need that experience. We looked for a good header (of the ball) because that’s what we need.

“And we’ve found it with Steven Caulker. He was not in the best situation in Southampton, didn’t play too much, but this is January and we want to have the best solution for us and we are absolutely convinced that Steven is the best solution for us."

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