Ibrahima Konaté must have done something in recent months to warrant the attention of the Premier League champions. Liverpool are interested in the central defender, according to reports.
Bild, via EuroSport claims that Jurgen Klopp likes the look of Konate, and that the Liverpool manager’s bosses believe the RB Leipzig centre-back represents the best value for money.
The 21-year-old is an obvious immediate replacement for both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, who are both currently nursing long-term knee injuries and face a sustained period out on the sidelines.
Liverpool have put RB Leipzig in a tough spot with their reported interest in Konate. He’s not the only defender the Reds supposedly want, after all.
Bild’s Christian Falk believes Liverpool like both Konate and Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig. The central defensive fit similar profiles – they’re both athletic, French, centre-halves in their early 20s.
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If Liverpool’s interest is serious, it is likely that the club will have been watching some of the defensive duo’s recent performances against elite opposition such as Paris Saint Germain.
Does they meet Liverpool’s needs
Konate is a very physically capable central defender who has all the attributes to be one of the best in the business, given his recent referal from the Bundesliga’s official website.
“Plays a bit like: Virgil van Dijk”, was their assessment of Konate.
“Likening Konate to one of the best centre-backs in recent times may seem like a premature comparison. It’s not. There are few in the position who excel at so many aspects of the game as the young Frenchman.”
“Whether it be in terms of positioning, sticking tight to the striker, intercepting passes, tackling or building from the back, Konate cannot just do it all, he makes it look easy,” they say.
“He has the pace to match the quickest of attackers and the physique to bully – rather than be bullied by – muscular strikers much more experienced than he is.”
While it may seem a little premature to compare Konate to the best in the business, he does have the stats behind him to back up such notions.
Coming in at a hulking 6ft 4in, Konate has similar attributed and a playing style to that of Van Dijk. This effectively means Liverpool could purchase a long-term like-for-like replacement – considering Van Dijk will be 30 next season.
Konate is someone who is dominant in the air, strong in the tackle but accomplished on the ball. A lot of the player’s and tactical nous can be attributed to Leipzig head-coach who has implemented a similar playing style to Jurgen Klopp – another ball in Konate’s corner.
When thrown against the best in the form of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Konate and Upamecano didn’t hide away from the occasion.
During the 2-1 victory against PSG, both players were imperious to help get the upper hand against the Champions League finalists.
Upamecano, 22, was particularly impressive, making four tackles, two interceptions and four clearances for his team, as per WhoScored.
Meanwhile Konate, was equally influential during the win. He clocked up two clearances, one interception and one tackle.
Altogether you get two equally combative and physical central defenders who would each provide adequate cover should Liverpool’s reported interest materialise into anything more.
That’s exactly what Liverpool are missing at this present moment and Klopp has a big decision in how he is to address the situation.
Both players are young and are only going to get better. We won’t be surprised if Liverpool were to sign either although it remains to be seen if club’s transfer plan is to be brought forward to January or whether the Reds wait until the summer to make a move.
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