SOCCER

‘He did really well against Zaha and Ayew’ – Liverpool boss Klopp raves about Konate


The Reds manager was full of praise for the Mali prospect following an impressive debut against Patrick Vieira’s Eagles

Liverpool manager has branded Ibrahima Konate’s potential as ‘incredible’ following his inspiring display against Crystal Palace.

The 22-year-old joined the Reds on a five-year contract in a deal worth £35m having impressed at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

Nevertheless, he made his competitive debut in the club’s 3-0 over Patrick Vieira’s men in Saturday’s Premier League encounter.

Partnering Virgil van Dijk, Kostas Tsimikas and James Milner, the 22-year-old halted the attacking forays of the Eagles to help the 19-time English kings keep a clean sheet.  

The German tactician was impressed with Konate’s performance and when asked if the former France youth international had required an adaptation process, Klopp told the club website: “Yes, definitely, that’s very important. I think we all saw what kind of potential the boy has – it’s incredible.

“Physicality, technique, game understanding, it’s all there, but when as a young boy you are already skilled like Ibou is then you rely sometimes on these skills and the Premier League teaches you harsh lessons.

“[Saturday] was a good example with Crystal Palace playing with first Benteke and then Edouard, Zaha all the time cutting inside, Ayew around… these are proper strikers, and he did really well.

“Of course, when you play your first game then maybe it is not so nice when you play in a completely new last line, but together with Virg and Millie on this side it worked really well – and Kostas played a top game as well.”

Klopp stated there is still more to expect from the Mali prospect while talking about whether he is keen on rotating the squad or not in the 2021-22 campaign.

“There is a lot more to come from him,” he continued.

“He is still young and yes, of course, they all have had to adapt to the way we play and to the league as well, of course.

“It is a special league here. He is in a really good way and I am really happy about the process.

“We will rotate, we always rotated, but you see in the last line in the last years we couldn’t rotate really because there were always a maximum of two fit [centre-backs] very often – and the third one was already a midfielder.

“In midfield, hopefully, we have the numbers to do [it] and we need that because, as I said before the game, this is the engine room of the team and we need to make the changes there.

“Upfront, we have different opportunities as well, so that’s good. How often we do it, I didn’t make a plan already for the season, but as often as necessary and possible.”




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