Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate partnered one another for the first time on Thursday. It’s our first look at a long-term plan for Liverpool.
Liverpool had a strange friendly schedule on Thursday as they played Bologna twice in 60-minute games. Jurgen Klopp used two different teams for each.
And the second side gave us a good look at a new partnership: Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate. It’s a duo that may not be first-choice now but they represent the future at Liverpool.
The next few years will be about developing the 22-year-old, then, and hopefully turning him into a world-class defender. He’s essentially Virgil van Dijk’s replacement in that regard.
But there’s another factor in play – how does he mesh with Gomez? Their partnership will hopefully carry Liverpool into a new era.
Gomez & Konate
Virgil van Dijk is still the best Liverpool have got and it’ll remain that way for a few more years. He is 30 years old, however.
Is the Dutchman still going to be the world’s best in four years’ time? Probably not, if we’re being honest.
The hope, though, will be that Gomez and Konate are elite players in the world’s best partnership by then. Those are lofty expectations, of course, but that’s the potential.
Gomez will be 28 in four years. Konate will be 26. They’ll be in their primes and should be unbelievably experienced by then.
Gomez is already a Premier League, European and World champion. He’s played regularly at the top level for years.
And Konate has years of Bundesliga and Champions League experience under his belt at just 22. He’s a player of huge potential, much like Gomez.
So if both develop as planned, Liverpool should have two world-class centre-backs ready to take over from Van Dijk. Only, they’ll also be completely in sync with one another and the team, having played together for years by then.
It would be an unbelievable position to be in if Liverpool can make it happen. Thursday was just the beginning in that regard.