Liverpool v AC Milan: Match in pictures
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Ibrahima Konate can be the key to fix Liverpool’s defensive problems after the Frenchman was handed his Premier League debut in the 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at Anfield. The 22-year-old joined the club at the start of the summer from RB Leipzig in a move worth £36million, but the defender had been forced to wait for his first minutes in a Liverpool shirt.
The 22-year-old joined the club at the start of the summer from RB Leipzig in a move worth £36million, but the defender had been forced to wait for his first minutes in a Liverpool shirt.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring shortly before the interval, before Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita made sure of the win late in the second half.
Konate’s was one of six changes for Jurgen Klopp’s side – including Trent Alexander-Arnold – who missed out entirely though illness.
The spotlight continues to be on Liverpool when record signing Virgil van Dijk is not playing, but fans were pleased to see the Dutch defender return to the starting line-up to partner the debutant.
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Van Dijk was bitterly missed for much of the previous campaign after being sidelined with a serious knee injury which he picked up against Everton last October.
Without him they look vulnerable on the counter-attack, and they proved that once more in Tuesday’s Champions League match against AC Milan which saw the Reds concede twice.
Konate’s introduction to the side could signal the start of a new partnership for Liverpool which could finally divert attention away from their defensive woes.
Klopp’s side have mixed and matched over the years, with the likes of Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all having regular spells in the starting line-up.
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But all three have been unable to cement their place in the first-team on a long-term basis – although Gomez’s injury has not helped his case.
Konate made 14 appearances in the Bundesliga under Julian Nagelsmann last season and was part of a side that kept more clean sheets than any side in the league.
The defender came through the ranks at Sochaux, before joining the Bundesliga side after a successful breakthrough season in France back in 2017.
Konate had an all-round good debut at Anfield and was reliable when called upon, including when he tracked back to force Christian Benteke wide, before getting a vital block in.
It is clear he has the potential to succeed in the Premier League and at just 22, the defender has his whole career ahead of him.
It’s still early days yet and it will no doubt take time for Konate to adjust to the physical demands and speed of the Premier League.
But if he continues in this vein, then he is sure to keep both Gomez and Matip out of the side.
The result moves Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table and Klopp’s side will now turn their attention to the Carabao Cup fixture against Norwich at Carrow Road on Tuesday.
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