Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp gets boost as Ibrahima Konate makes return to full Liverpool training

Ibrahima Konate Liverpool July 2022

Ibrahima Konate has been handed the green light to return to full training and he could be included in the matchday squad to face Brighton.

The centre-back has bee sidelined since the final friendly of pre-season against Strasbourg in July. It was somewhat of a freak injury with Konate suffering a knee problem following a collision.

It has meant the 23-year-old has failed to make an appearance this season, missing eight games. But the defender has completed a spell of rehabilitation both at Kirkby and in France. And now, according to a number of sources including the The Athletic, he has been given the go ahead to return to full contact training after reporting for duty at the AXA Centre this week with the other non-internationals.

Jurgen Klopp will have a look at Konate this week and is expected to deliver an update at his press conference on Friday.

It’s unlikely Konate will be risked from the start against Brighton at Anfield on Saturday. But the French defender may find himself back in the matchday squad.

A more realistic proposition for Konate could be the Champions League date with Rangers. That would mean a first competitive start since May’s Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

Klopp has used the likes of Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips to partner Virgil van Dijk this season. Those partnerships have warranted very different results with Gomez struggling in defeat at Napoli.

‘Too much’ for Konate

Meanwhile, Phillips looked uneasy in the home draw with Crystal Palace.

Klopp went with Gomez and Van Dijk in the recent draw with Everton, but Konate’s availability will give him a huge boost.

Konate made 29 appearances last season and grew in stature as the season progressed. In fact he started three of the last four Premier League games and partnered Van Dijk in the Champions League final in Paris.

Klopp joked in the summer that the Reds had paid too much for Konate before Liverpool’s meeting with his former club Red Bull Leipzig.

“These are two great guys that you’ve given us, even though you played us a little and we paid way too much money for them! We’re still really happy,” joked Klopp.

The Reds parted with the player’s £36m release clause in May 2021 to sign the Paris-born defender from Leipzig.

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