Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Ibrahima Konate still has to improve as he gets used to Liverpool’s new shape.
Konate has been the man most impacted by the decision to shift Trent Alexander-Arnold into midfield of late. With no right-back to protect him, the big Frenchman has more or less had to cover two positions. By and large he’s done it really well.
But speaking in his post-match press conference last night, Klopp suggested that he saw some things he wasn’t happy with during last night’s 1-0 win over Fulham.
“A lot of moments were really good tonight, but then there are moments obviously where we still have to adapt to the set-up,” he admitted. “You can see that when Trent cannot be everywhere, it’s not that he can be in midfield and in the next situation is directly in the right-back position.
“That has to be covered by Ibou and there were a few situations where Ibou was a bit too far away and then they could turn and have the attack. We have things to improve, definitely, but in a lot of moments it looked already really good.”
Konate plays his part in new system
This is a fair point from Klopp, but it also goes the other way. Trent can’t be everywhere at once, but neither can Konate. There has to be an expectation that at times, the lack of an extra defender will catch Liverpool out.
It did on Sunday against Tottenham, as Son Heung-Min ran through unopposed to score. You can be brilliant 99 times out of 100 in that respect, but there’s always a chance you’ll leave the door open.
Clearly though, the positives of this change of approach far outweigh the negatives. Alexander-Arnold was excellent once again last night. Almost everything good Liverpool do with the ball comes through the 24-year-old.
Konate does deserve a lot praise too. This shift wouldn’t be possible without his dominating presence to count on. One or two hairy moments aside, we thought the 23-year-old handled his assignment brilliantly last night.
Willian isn’t the easiest customer to deal with, but Ibou courted him well. He also made one or two timely interventions in his more traditional central role.
Already one of the Reds most important players, how he adapts to this new position could make Konate even more crucial. Early signs are that he’ll take it in his stride. Improvements can always be made, but we like what we’ve seen so far.