Leicester City planned to let Ibrahima Konate have the ball as much as possible during their game with Liverpool last night.
That’s according to their manager, Dean Smith. Speaking to Leicester’s official Twitter page after his side’s 3-0 defeat last night, the Foxes boss gave an insight into how he asked his team to cope with Liverpool.
“I thought we matched it [Liverpool] for 30 minutes until that first goal,” railed the 52-year-old.
“Our game plan was to leave Konate on the ball and make him go back to the goalkeeper and keep the ball in-front of us. I thought we did that really well, but unfortunately the goalkeeper’s put a big ball over the top of our back four and they score from that.”
When you’re playing against a goalkeeper as good at distributing as Alisson Becker is, it’s a dangerous ploy to actively try and get him in possession. There were other flaws to Leicester’s game, but it’s safe to say that this didn’t work.
Konate still working on his passing
Rather than making Konate go back with the ball, Leicester would have been better of pushing him forward with it.
As Jurgen Klopp noted recently, the 23-year-old’s passing still needs to be worked on. At times Ibou can play aimless balls forward that never look in danger of reaching a teammate. He was guilty of that in the early part of the game last night, firing a couple of loose passes straight to Daniel Iversen in the Leicester goal.
When compared with Virgil van Dijk’s expert distribution from the same position, it’s clear who the opposition would rather have on the ball. But if you’re forcing Konate to go backwards, well, that’s a different matter.
If the Frenchman is still learning how, when and where to pick his passes, then Alisson is already a master of it. The Brazilian may not be as gifted in that department as his national team colleague Ederson, but he’s still pretty good.
Ali showed that last night, sending a looping ball forward which led to the first goal. It wasn’t great defending from Wout Faes, but credit should be given to Alisson’s kick, too.
It swirled in the air and landed on a spot just in-between Leicester’s two centre-halves. Luis Diaz took advantage of Faes’ hesitation and Liverpool went on to score.
Given Konate’s relative weakness when in possession, this may be something other teams start to target. But if Alisson can keep delivering long balls that do damage – and he will – then that may not last long. This Liverpool team just have too many ways to hurt you.