Villarreal v Liverpool Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Champions League


Won 100% of his duels, 69 touches: 'Fantastic' player showed Liverpool his true potential last night

Ibrahima Konate put in a performance to remember as Liverpool beat Villarreal last night. The Reds are in another Champions League final.

Liverpool went to Villarreal last night and picked up a 3-2 win to march on to the UEFA Champions League final. It’s their third such final in five years as Jurgen Klopp’s side continue their fantastic European form.

This is a team that has been there before, after all, and knows exactly what it takes to make a final like this. And that’s why it’s surprising that some of their best players from last night have never actually been this far before.

Ibrahima Konate and Luis Diaz both caught the eye for Liverpool – two of three players, along with Diogo Jota, who will appear in their first Champions League final. It goes to show just how much you can improve even a squad that has conquered all.

The praise for Diaz after this one was everywhere, naturally. Nigel de Jong labelled him a ‘baller’ after his game-changing impact, while Michael Owen believes the Colombian should start the final.

But Konate’s performance shouldn’t fly under the radar here. He, too, played a significant role.

Ibrahima Konate for Liverpool vs Villarreal

Konate has already made waves this season, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk labelling him ‘fantastic’.

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“Fantastic player, to be that good already at such an age, it’s crazy in my opinion,” raved Van Dijk to LFCTV Go. “But there’s still loads to learn.”

And what Konate is doing for Liverpool at 22 is truly remarkable. Jurgen Klopp trusted him in both legs against Villarreal and even under all of that pressure last night, the centre-back delivered.

Photo by Alex Gottschalk/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

He won every single duel, for instance. Villarreal only asked him to make one tackle but he did so, while he managed to win four headers out of four. There were two interceptions there, too (a game-high) as Konate put in a very solid performance.

The Frenchman wasn’t exactly shy to get involved on the ball, either. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold had more than Konate’s 69 touches.

That’s a fantastic performance from a young player in the biggest game of his career. It just goes to show how high his true potential is because as Van Dijk says, it’s crazy that he’s doing this at 22. Konate already looks perfectly assured – and dominant – in a Champions League semi final.

Now the only question is, should he start the final?

All stats per Whoscored.

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