Premier League • England

France star admits he told Jurgen Klopp to ‘chill’ as details of Liverpool transfer approach come to light

Ibrahima Konate of France during the UEFA Nations League, League A - Group 1 football match between France and Croatia on June 13, 2022 at Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris

Liverpool star Ibrahima Konate has revealed how Jurgen Klopp first went about persuading him to sign for the Merseysiders with his rather unique charm offensive.

The centre-half moved to Anfield in summer 2021, with the Reds triggering the £36m release clause in his contract. After a slow start to life on Merseyside, Konate proved himself a trusted member of Klopp’s squad. Indeed, he featured 29 times in all competitions, becoming a regular in their Champions League team.

Having won two trophies with Liverpool, it was almost the perfect debut campaign in England. And while the Reds missed out on the two biggest prizes, Konate can look back on his first season with pride.

Indeed, he finished the season playing in the Champions League final in his homeland. And while the result did not go the way he or Liverpool wanted, their progression to the showpiece vindicated his decision to leave RB Leipzig.

His form the the Reds certainly caught the eye too. As a result, Konate made his full international debut with France over the summer, since winning a second cap for Didier Deschamps’ side.

Playing for such a global force with Liverpool has certainly raised Konate’s profile. While he was regarded as a top quality upcoming defender at Leipzig, it is at Liverpool where he has been allowed to fulfil his international ambitions.

Now Konate has spoken out about how Klopp charmed him into the move to Anfield. He has revealed that Klopp warned him that playing for the Reds would be like nothing he will have witnessed before.

Ibrahima Konate on how Klopp lured him to Liverpool

In an interview with Onze Mondial, Konate admits Klopp gave him an insight into how playing for Liverpool will change his life.

Liverpool is an amazing place and a mythical club,” he said.

“I remember, before I signed, I had the coach [Klopp] on the phone. He said to me: ‘The day you sign for Liverpool, it will not be the same for you, your life will change.

“Wherever you travel in the world, you will see for yourself what I am telling you. In my head I was thinking: ‘OK, fine, it’s an incredible club with a great history, but chill’.

“I travelled, I went to Zanzibar this summer, and I was taking at least 50 photos a day. And then his sentence came back into my head. I thought: ‘This is insane’.”

Admitting he did not know just how big a global phenomenen Liverpool are, Konate has made a big revelation about life with Liverpool.

“As a kid, I knew Liverpool was a big club, but I didn’t imagine it like this. It’s way above my expectations in every way.”

Konate fitness update

Injuries have so far deprived Konate from making an appearance for Liverpool so far this season.

The centre-half has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury following a collision during a pre-season outing with Strasbourg. However, he 23-year-old has completed his rehabilitation and stepped back into first-team training again over the recent international break.

And Konate was back on the bench on Tuesday during the Champions League showdown against Rangers at Anfield. While an unused substitute that night, Konate will hope to be involved in the coming days and weeks ahead.

Liverpool have a hectic run of fixtures, with seven more games to fit in before the month of October is out.

Next up is the trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal, before the return tie against Rangers at Ibrox. The follows the small matter of a clash against title favourites and reigning champions Manchester City.

Klopp will need to rotate his squad cleverly and Konate’s fresh legs will undoubtedly prove key in the coming games ahead.

Having kept a clean sheet in midweek, Klopp will likely keep faith with the same defensive unit at Emirates on Sunday. But there is a strong chance Konate will make his first start of the campaign when the Merseysiders head to Glasgow in six days time.

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