Premier League • England

Konate laps up comparisons with two Liverpool greats as ‘fear’ under Klopp faced

Ibrahima Konate, Mohamed Salah Liverpool v Crystal Palace September 2021

Ibrahima Konate has welcomed comparisons to Fabinho and Andy Robertson over how they adapted to life under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

France Under-21 defender Konate arrived at Anfield this summer as the Reds’ marquee signing of the transfer window. Indeed, penning a deal until 2026, he has time to adapt and improve at the club.

But Liverpool boss Klopp has made a habit of giving new signings the space to adapt to his side’s philosophies.

Left-back Andy Robertson started as Alberto Moreno’s deputy but soon usurped the Spaniard – and in style.

Fabinho, meanwhile, has become an unmissable member of Liverpool’s midfield following his 2018 move from Monaco.

Konate has only played four times this season but feels comforted by Fabinho and Robertson’s pathways into the team.

“You can see [them as] examples and they are really key players for this team,” he told Liverpool’s matchday programme (via the Liverpool Echo).

“You have to be patient and just keep working hard and then you hope to be able to follow a similar path.

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“I’m thinking of players like Sadio [Mane], Divock Origi or Naby Keita who allowed me to integrate well with the group as they helped with the communication aspect right from the start.

“So there was never a barrier with the other players, which also helped me to settle in more easily.”

Konate added that his career on Merseyside is going “superbly well” and that he is “flourishing” at Liverpool.

Konate tackles potential Liverpool fear

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate stood next to manager Jurgen Klopp 2021

Nevertheless, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip are Klopp‘s first-choice pairing at the back. Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Phillips are also options. However, the former has a calf injury and Phillips struggles for minutes down the pecking order.

Asked if he fears a lack of game time, though, Konate said: “No. Maybe a little bit of apprehension. But honestly, ever since I started playing football, it’s always been like that.

“Whether it be at Paris FC, the Sochaux Academy or at Leipzig, wherever I’ve gone to, there has always been strong competition for places and I’ve always come out of it well.

“So I said to myself that if I sign for Liverpool, it will certainly be at another level, but I have confidence in my ability and I am a Parisian, and you know what Parisians are like!

“So I’m going to do everything I can to be able to earn my place in the side here, either in the short-term or looking further ahead.”

Despite his lack of game time, Konate did play in the famous 5-0 win over Manchester United in October. He could feature again when Porto travel to Anfield in a Champions League dead-rubber on Wednesday.