Analysis suggests Liverpool's title challenge hinges on 22-year-old


Analysis suggests Liverpool title challenge hinges on Ibrahima Konate

Liverpool will want to mount a serious title challenge this season and get their trophy back. Analysis into what that takes suggests there’s an awful lot of pressure on Ibrahima Konate, however.

We expect Liverpool to challenge for the title this season. Their squad is back together and, in our opinion, upgraded from two years ago.

But is that enough to win the Premier League? What else does it take other than improving an already successful squad?

Well, according to the BBC, being ready to go from the start is a huge part of it.

Their research shows that getting off to a fast start usually ends in winning the Premier League title. In fact, since the start of the Premier League era, 70% of teams who topped the table at the start of October went on to win it.

That number increases to near 80% for the start of November and bumps up again for December. It’s all the way at 86% for New Year.

This probably won’t surprise Liverpool fans all that much. The rapid way they built a lead in 19/20 was a huge part of that success.

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But what it does tell us is that the pressure on Ibrahima Konate is quite immense right now. After all, a slow start sees those title chances plummet to 30%.

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Neither Virgil van Dijk nor Joe Gomez will be fully fit by the end of September. Neither has finished a full 90 minutes in 2021 and we don’t expect Jurgen Klopp to start them together for some time.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Konate and Joel Matip will almost certainly be the starting duo for the next two months. At least, they’ll be the regular, reliable two.

That’s a lot of pressure to pile on Konate. Liverpool will expect him – as the only new member of the side – to help them get off to a fast start and mount an immediate title challenge. If he struggles, it’s hard to see how the Reds pick up wins.

He’s a 22-year-old at a new club, in a new country, playing a new style but Liverpool need him delivering like a champion. Anything less and the Reds’ chances of winning that title fall quite dramatically.

We expect big things of Konate – he’s a big talent. Can he deliver what Liverpool need right from that first whistle, though? We’re about to find out and there’s an awful lot riding on it.

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