Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate has been in France coach Didier Deschamps’ first XI during World Cup training sessions this week.
That’s according to French outlet RMC Sport. They claim that the Reds player has been lining up in the middle of a back four, as France gear up to play Australia on Tuesday.
Konate has reportedly been joined at centre-back by former RB Leipzig teammate Dayot Upamecano. With Raphael Varane yet to recover from injury, Deschamps has also seen Presnal Kimpembe withdraw from the squad.
As a result, Konate could now be in-line to start the tournament as part of France’s first choice XI. Meanwhile, RMC report that former Liverpool transfer target Aurelien Tchouameni has also been featuring in Deschamps’ preferred team.
Konate set for start for France?
With just four Liverpool games behind him this season, plenty of Reds fans would like to see Konate play a minor part in the World Cup.
The risk of injury could be seen as being too great for a player who has become very important indeed.
However, to have a Liverpool player starting for the World Champions is a feather in the cap for the club. It’s also massive testament to the abilities of Konate.
Prior to last week’s announcement, there was plenty of doubt that the 23-year-old would even make the squad. Injuries have disrupted his season enormously and Konate only earned his first call-up last summer.
Then, having been included, it may have been expected that the £35m Liverpool man would be nothing more than a back-up. Injuries to senior players have obviously helped him in that regard, but he’s still battling with Arsenal’s William Saliba.
The 21-year-old may be younger than Konate, but he’s also been a favourite of Deschamps recently. Meanwhile, Jules Kounde is also in the squad, but has often been utilised at right-back by the manager.
All of this has paved the way for Konate to potentially rekindle his partnership with Upamecano. There will likely be some anxiety from French fans over this surprise pairing. But as Liverpool fans have learned, there’s no need to be worried when Ibou’s about.
Go show them what you can do, big man!