Ibrahima Konate can’t keep his eyes off a picture at Liverpool’s training ground of Jurgen Klopp lifting the Champions League trophy.
Speaking to Goal ahead of the Champions League final tomorrow, Konate said he keeps staring at the picture.
“I can’t stop looking at it!” exclaimed the Frenchman. “I think that with this trophy, we’re talking about games I watched on TV as a kid and grew up watching. Even the final against Madrid (2018), when they lost, I watched on the tele. So it’s something that is already part of my history because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”
Tomorrow’s final takes place in Konate’s home city of Paris. And the 23-year-old is evidently full of determination to bring the trophy back to his new home for the seventh time.
“It’s indescribable what it means – I’ve not got the words to explain what winning huge trophies like this one would mean,” he said.
“The club wants to show that they’re already part of football history, and they want to go on demonstrating that year after year. So when I think about the motto of being together [You’ll Never Walk Alone], and having this history together, it is beyond words, beyond dreams.”
Decisions to make for Klopp
One of the biggest questions that will be rattling around in Jurgen Klopp’s head before tomorrow is who to partner with Virgil Van Dijk.
The only thing certain is that it will be either Konate or Joel Matip. The two have rotated pretty much all season, with both staking strong claims ahead of the final.
In recent weeks it had started to look as though it would be Konate getting the nod. However, the young defender did have a slightly wobbly game on the final day of the Premier League season.
His early misjudgement of a goal-kick let Wolves in far too easily and set the tone for a nervous display for Liverpool.
Swinging in Matip’s favour
It may have only been a moment, but it might be enough to swing the pendulum back in Matip’s favour.
The 30-year-old has amazingly sustained his form and fitness for a full season this year. Matip has provided a couple of big goals in the closing weeks and is also a far more experienced partner for Virgil.
Whatever Klopp decides, he’ll have the support of the fanbase. Both deserve to start on the biggest night of their careers.
If Matip does end up getting the shirt, you certainly wouldn’t bet against Konate having the chance to do so in this biggest of games in the future.