A personnel crisis at center back was a big reason Liverpool failed to defend their Premier League title and meet the lofty expectations set in 2020-2021. They took the first step in addressing the position by signing RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate to a five-year contract on Friday.
The 22-year-old had been rumored for some time to be making the move to Anfield. Liverpool triggered the release clause in Konate’s contract at Leipzig, reportedly worth more than $50 million.
“He is someone I’ve admired for a long time, ever since I first became aware of his potential when he was at Sochaux,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told LiverpoolFC.com. “After the problems we had with injuries in the centre-half position last season, there’s no doubt it was clear it was an area of the team we needed to strengthen.”
Who is Ibrahima Konate?
The Paris-born Konate came through the Sochaux youth system and made his pro debut for the club in France’s Ligue 2. He left enough of an impression that German Bundesliga team RB Leipzig signed him to a five-year contract in June 2017. He made 95 appearances across all competitions for the Bundesliga title contenders over the past four seasons.
Before arriving at Liverpool, Konate will be starring for France’s U-21 team at the UEFA Under-21 European Championships. The quarterfinal stage of that competition will be played on Monday with France playing the Netherlands Under-21 side.
Konate will immediately provide a boost to a Liverpool team that saw Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all go down to long-term injuries last season. The club made moves in January to address the situation, acquiring Ben Davies (Preston North End) and securing Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke in January, but Davies has yet to make an appearance and Kabak reportedly won’t be returning. It was the emergence of Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips that helped Liverpool in their positive late-season run to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool squad 2021-2022
Updated as of Friday, May 28, 2021
Goalkeepers (4): Adrian, Alisson Becker, Caoimhin Kelleher, Marcelo Pitaluga
Defenders (11): Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Davies, Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Phillips, Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, Virgil van Dijk, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams
Midfielders (9): Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri, Ben Woodburn
Forwards (5): Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane, Divock Origi, Mohamed Salah
Liverpool transfer moves
Source: Read Full Article