Konate reveals ‘strange’ trait to boost Liverpool; exciting instant Van Dijk link-up

Ibrahima Konate Liverpool, France Under-21s May 2021

New Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate says that he can contribute goals to Jurgen Klopp’s side, even if more of them “strangely” come with his feet.

The 6ft 3in centre-back has swelled the Reds’ ranks ahead of the new season in a key transfer move. Following all three senior options suffering injury last campaign, Klopp did not want a repeat. He also wanted to replace Dejan Lovren, while looking to the long-term for a new player at the back.

Konate, 22, ticks all those boxes and has impressed early on in Liverpool’s pre-season training camp in Austria.

Giving his first interview to the club’s official website, the Frenchman offered a breakdown of what he will offer Liverpool.

“Yes, I am big, I am strong and I am not scared with the ball,” he said.

“I can score more with my foot than my head, it is a little bit strange! This is me!

“Yes, I have this quality, but I have to work again and again and more and more and more for being a very good defender.

“I have watched some Premier League games and everybody knows there is so much intensity, strong players. This is difficult but I [will] love the challenge.”

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Konate has struggled for game time over the past few seasons with injury. Liverpool assistant coach Peter Krawietz explained earlier this month that he and his fellow coaches are well aware of that poor record.

However, Krawietz added that his colleagues have seen more than enough to feel “convinced” about his quality.

Konate, meanwhile, insisted that he is looking to build a rapport with his new team-mates.

He added: “Of course I will learn [from] these players, but not just with these players, with every player on this team.

“It’s just the start and with time it will be [a lot] better.”

Konate reveals Van Dijk relationship

Ibrahima Konate, Champions League press

Nevertheless, some of those relationships – such as the one with fellow centre-back Virgil van Dijk – are already building.

Asked who he has bonded with most so far, Konate said: “With Van Dijk a little bit. [Sadio] Mane because he speaks French.

“Naby [Keita], I knew him for a long time; [Divock] Origi and [Mohamed] Salah. I think I can speak with every player step by step, it will be good.”

It remains unclear whether manager Klopp will use Konate from the off alongside Van Dijk. Indeed, Joe Gomez established himself as Van Dijk’s top ally before the pair’s injuries.

Klopp, though, has said that Van Dijk and Gomez are progressing well.

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