Liverpool hopes over as Leipzig chief delivers conclusive Konate verdict

Ibrahima Konate, RB Leipzig defender

Ibrahima Konate will not be joining Liverpool from RB Leipzig after the latter’s sporting director contacted the Premier League club, according to reports in Germany.

Konate recently emerged as a major target for Liverpool ahead of the summer transfer window. The Reds will be looking to strengthen their defence further after signing Ozan Kabak on loan in January, as well as Ben Davies. The Leipzig man is one of the main names they have been linked with.

Konate has a €40m release clause in his contract, which would make him an appealing target. However, on the flipside, his injury record would be a cause for concern.

Nonetheless, there have been claims that the club will press ahead with their interest. The 21-year-old could be the ideal partner for Virgil van Dijk when the Dutchman returns from his long-term injury.

But now, more doubt has been cast on the potential move. According to SportBILD, Liverpool have told RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff that Konate is not on their agenda.

Mintzlaff reportedly called Liverpool when news leaked of their potential interest in Konate. However, he was told that he is “currently not an issue” for the Reds.

Even so, he is bracing himself for Konate’s departure in the summer. That would lead to a complex situation for Leipzig defensively, as Dayot Upamecano will also be leaving (to Bayern Munich).

Leipzig will be powerless to stop Konate leaving if a club meets his release clause. However, it does not seem that it will be Liverpool at this stage.

Jurgen Klopp piles praise on Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips

Jurgen Klopp piles praise on Liverpool defender Nathaniel Phillips

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Nat Phillips after the defender made his Champions League debut in their victory over RB Leipzig.

Instead, it seems Liverpool will try to make Kabak’s signing permanent. A recent report suggested they would seek to do so for a lower figure than that of their option to buy.

Confirming Kabak’s future at Anfield would block a space for Konate. That’s despite previous reports that the latter had already undergone a medical ahead of the move.

It seems those claims may have been wide of the mark and that Konate is not on the agenda for Liverpool.

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Liverpool defensive issues highlighted

Liverpool’s need for defensive reinforcements became clearer after their 3-1 loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday.

The first leg of their Champions League quarter-final did not go to plan, with Madrid punishing their fragility at the back.

After the game, pundit Rio Ferdinand – who had already warned them their defence was not good enough to win the Champions League – named and shamed defender Nat Phillips for his faults.

“I think they’ve made mistakes all over the place, especially in defence,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “They’ve been punished by this Real Madrid team.

“If he [Phillips] takes a drop there, he can see Vinicius’ run there. But he goes in line with his centre-back partner and that’s the worst thing you can do when there’s someone of that quality on the ball.

“His eyes are up, he’s telling you he’s going to play it forward. You have to drop at that point there when there’s no pressure on the ball, both centre-backs don’t do that and they get punished.”

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