The young French central defender has enjoyed a solid start to life in Liverpool’s backline but still has plenty more to give in a Reds shirt according to John Barnes
Konate has made just seven Premier League appearances for the club so far, helping the Reds to keep a clean sheet in three of those outings including the memorable 5-0 away victory at the home of fierce rivals Manchester United.
While Van Dijk and Matip are the more commonly preferred pairing for Premier League outings, Konate has received plenty of first team minutes in the domestic cup competitions as well as two run-outs in the Champions League.
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Liverpool have sealed their place in the final of the Carabao Cup and Konate has more than played his part in that effort.
Across three appearances in the competition (one start and two 45 minute substitute cameos), Liverpool have not conceded a single goal while Konate has been on the pitch.
His most recent performance in the competition came during the second-half of the semi-final second leg at Arsenal.
Konate’s commanding presence stifled the Gunners attack as the Reds played out a comfortable 2-0 win that saw the 22-year-old barely break a sweat.
Speaking to BonusCodeBets, Barnes explained how integrating Konate into the first-team fold slowly is the best thing for the Frenchman’s development.
“Ibrahima Konaté is a player for the future and one who will eventually take over this defence. It will take Ibrahima sometime to bed himself into this team, similarly to Fabinho when he first arrived at the club,” Barnes claimed.
“The fact that Joel is doing so well and playing regularly doesn’t necessarily spell the end for the likes of Joe Gomez at Anfield either.
“If you look at the age of the other central defenders, Ibrahima Konaté aside Gomez is one of the youngest. Joe [Gomez] is a fantastic player and an England international, I’m sure Liverpool would love to keep him too.”
Barnes went on to highlight the influence of Van Dijk and how he makes those around him, Konate included, better players.
“All of Liverpool’s defenders are good players, you can see that whenever they are playing alongside Virgil Van Dijk.
“Everyone could see Joe Gomez’s improvement when he played with Van Dijk.
“Playing alongside Virgil, Liverpool’s defenders show what they are really capable of, and so seeing how well Joel Matip has done this year hasn’t been surprising at all.”
Klopp’s side have one of the best defensive records in the division but are still nine points adrift of league-leaders Manchester City.