Jamie Carragher has praised Liverpool for their signing of Ibrahima Konate and shared what he had noticed from watching him.
Konate became Liverpool’s first signing of the summer when they announced his arrival from RB Leipzig towards the end of May. The centre-back will link up with the team for pre-season in July and they will be hoping he is the man to ease their defensive concerns. They lacked depth in his position last season.
Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip forced Jurgen Klopp to come up with some creative solutions. He tried converting Fabinho and Jordan Henderson into centre-backs, with reasonable success, for example.
But it was clear he needed more reinforcements, which prompted the club to sign Ozan Kabak on loan and Ben Davies on a permanent basis in January.
Despite a promising start from Kabak, neither made too significant an impression. Instead, Liverpool ended the season with academy graduates Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams as his first-choice centre-back pair.
With more experience required, Liverpool triggered Konate’s release clause to bring an end to his four-year spell with Leipzig. They will be hoping he provides the solution they have been craving.
Konate would do well to follow the example of Carragher, who spent his entire career impressing in defence for Liverpool.
Now, Carragher has revealed what fans can expect from the new signing and has predicted him to be the next in a long line of transfer successes for the club.
“I’ve seen snippets of him in the Champions League, obviously last season when Leipzig did really well,” Carragher told the Liverpool Echo.
“I watched him this season and I watched him a few days ago for France (U21s) and he just looks massive.
“He’s big and I like the size of him. He looks like he can cover the ground. He’s got big long strides when I was watching him play and he looks a huge presence and you just trust Liverpool with signings. You just do now.
“The way they go about it with Jurgen Klopp and Michael Edwards, the prices they pay, the ages they get certain players at, you just trust them.
“So, you know, if Liverpool feel someone is good enough to bring in, they’ve got the whole fanbase on side because of their track record.”
Konate arrival may affect Phillips
One man who took his chance to impress before Liverpool signed Konate was Phillips. After spending the previous season on loan in the German second tier with Stuttgart, he got far more opportunities than he would have expected upon his return to Anfield.
Phillips ended the season with 20 appearances in all competitions and got his reward with one goal.
He may have earned himself a longer-term future at the club as a result. However, at the age of 24, he knows he needs to be playing.
Therefore, he has cast doubt on his situation after the arrival of Konate.