Liverpool assistant coach Peter Krawietz has explained why manager Jurgen Klopp has no concerns over Ibrahima Konate’s injury record.
The Reds announced a deal in May for the ex-RB Leipzig centre-back, who has become their first summer signing. While the 22-year-old has Bundesliga experience, the mere sight of a new addition comes as a boost to Liverpool. Indeed, Klopp’s side had a nightmare injury run last season, losing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Matip and Gomez have chequered injury histories themselves, leading to the call for another addition.
However, Konate has not fared much better; he missed 27 games in the 2019/20 campaign with a torn muscle fibre.
The France Under-21 international’s comeback did not last long, though. After returning to full fitness, he picked up another issue in July last year, missing a further three months.
Konate returned in October last year but, once again, was back on the sidelines in December – this time with an ankle problem.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, though, Krawietz explained why the Reds’ coaches do not fear his injury history.
“This is what we are looking for. Still young but 10 years’ experience would be the best package but that’s not possible!” the coach said.
“But with him, he started playing in the Bundesliga aged 18 years.
“He had a few injury issues and missed a lot of games. but if you look at his development and what he did in the last years after returning from this injury, there are enough games to watch and to gather a proper picture and this is why we are so convinced about him.”
Konate has made 66 Bundesliga appearances following his move from French club Sochaux in 2017.
He is also making progress on the international stage, having featured at the Under-21 European Championships earlier this year.
Krawietz went on to explain why Liverpool have firm belief in Konate developing into a “world-class” player at Anfield.
Liverpool have big Konate belief
“He is a young player still, but also experienced. He played a few years in the German Bundesliga and for several of the French national teams,” the coach said.
“His qualities are pretty obvious. He is a smart centre-half and in terms of defending, of course he has the physical body to be a proper centre-half.
“In Englandwe all know what the things are they need to bring to the team: they need to be tall, they need to be quick, they need to be strong in the air and of course it’s important always for us as well that they fit in our tactical profile. In him, we see all of these qualities.
“He is also very, very comfortable and calm on the ball, which is so important for us and our style of football, which is to realise a really calm and safe build-up for our attacking situations. We see all these qualities in him and that is why he is such a promising and interesting package.”