Ibrahima Konate opens up on his lack of game time at Liverpool
Liverpool’s defensive crisis saw him bring in the young Frenchman to reinforce their backline earlier this summer. The Reds signed Konate from RB Leipzig for £36million but has not been an automatic starter when available.
With all four central defenders available at his disposal, Klopp has primarily used Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip as his go-to men. Both Konate and Joe Gomez have had to play supporting roles.
Given the stature and past impact of Virgil van Dijk, it’s evident that why the Reds’ boss manager doesn’t bench him. The Dutch defender’s performance has been correlated with Liverpool’s recent success.
On the other hand, Joel Matip has recovered from the ligament surgery last year and has since been trusted by the manager to start alongside Van Dijk.
Despite Joe Gomez’s calf injury, Ibrahima Konate hasn’t received the green light from the manager to feature. His last start in the Red shirt was back in October in a 2-2 draw with Brighton, and the 22-year-old player has only featured in four games this season.
Amid an acute shortage of game time, the French player revealed that he had the idea of the relentless competition for the starting place before moving to Anfield.
“I’m not going to say I was expecting [to start more]. There is a lot of competition for places in this position here at the club, and you cannot afford to rest on your laurels at all.
However, Konate is confident about his future as he has already experienced such competitiveness for starting positions in the past and excelled in every club to get the breakthrough.
“[Do I fear a lack of game-time]? No. Maybe a little bit of apprehension. But honestly, ever since I started playing football, it’s always been like that. Whether it be at Paris FC, the Sochaux Academy or at Leipzig, wherever I’ve gone to, there has always been strong competition for places, and I’ve always come out of it well.”
The likes of Andy Robertson and Fabinho were also slowly eased in the first XI over the course of their first seasons at Anfield. Today the duo can be deemed undroppable when available. Whether Konate too follow in thsoe footsteps remains to be seen.
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After getting a massive 4-0 victory over Arsenal, the Merseyside team has regained the no. 3 position on the points table. But being such a high-level and demanding competition, Premier League is full of risk. So Klopp’s use of Konate as an added cover is justifiable. He is just 22-year-old and has five years in his Liverpool contract. So, after he fully adapts to the team, he could perform many games in his peak years.