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How Liverpool's centre-back options look after Ibrahima Konate arrival

How do Liverpool’s centre-back options look now? Ibrahima Konate will join this summer, shaking things up at Anfield.

The stars

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain the standout players in Liverpool’s centre-back options. They’re undoubtedly world-class on their day and have proven capable of winning the biggest trophies.

The only questions going forward are fitness related. How will they recover from their injuries? Will Gomez always be at risk of long-term absences? Can Van Dijk keep playing at the top for four or five more years?

We’ll have to wait and see. Right now, though, they’re Liverpool’s starting pair when fit. We had them as the stars last week and nothing changes there.

The future is now

Ibrahima Konate arrives at Liverpool, having just turned 22. This is a big one.

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Konate has fantastic potential and looks certain to reach ‘star’ level before long. Hopefully, that happens next season, in fact.

But we need to see how he fits in and whether his injury situation is okay. Konate has missed a lot of games over the last two seasons, after all. Liverpool signing him suggests they don’t see a problem but he’ll have to prove that.

We’ll back him to, of course. There are big hopes here – this could prove to be a fantastic signing.

The questions

We’re not sure what the situation is with Joel Matip. On his day, he’s a star but we haven’t seen that consistently in quite some time.

Matip turns 30 in August but has battled injuries for two years now. If that continues next season, there will be difficult questions in a year – especially with Konate ready to take his spot.

Then there’s Nat Phillips. ESPN claims Liverpool are ‘open to offers’ for Phillips. He’s been fantastic over the last few months and played a huge role in the Reds qualifying for the Champions League.

But Konate’s addition surely rules out Phillips playing with any regularity next season. While his stock is high, it does make sense to see what clubs would offer.

Selling Phillips would be a shame. It’s tough to see what to do with him, though – fifth choice isn’t a great role to have.

Hard to see

It’s hard to see how Ozan Kabak retains a place at Liverpool. He’d be fifth choice at best when everyone is fit and giving that role to Phillips makes far more sense.

After all, Phillips is already at the club, while Liverpool would have to pay £18m to get Kabak. We just can’t see that happening after Konate’s arrival.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Rhys Williams is another who won’t have a place next season. But he’s still just 20 – there’s surely a loan deal on the table somewhere.

ESPN claims as much. Hopefully, Liverpool find a good one as Williams could really kick on with the right club. And who knows? Maybe he can get his way back into the squad in a year or two.

And that leaves one – Ben Davies. The Athletic claims Liverpool will have a look at him this summer and potentially give him a future. It’s certainly not what we expected.

Davies hasn’t played once since joining on February 1st. That tells us Liverpool don’t really rate him but that doesn’t necessarily rule out a future.

It’s hard to see one, of course, but stranger things have happened.

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