New Liverpool signing Ibrahima Konate will add far more than just defensive solidity to the Reds after arriving from RB Leipzig this summer.
Konate, 22, was signed for £36million last month with the aim of providing defensive steel to a Liverpool backline, but can also step into the midfield should Liverpool suffer injuries to the same extent as last season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side’s disappointing third place finish was mostly down to the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita being side-lined which left the Reds lacking quality in central positions.
Now a former teammate has revealed Liverpool’s new Frenchman could provide solid cover in midfield as well as defence, having played in that position up to under-17 level.
Sochaux forward Bryan Lasme, who has known Konate since 2014, told Goal.com: [Konate’s switch to central defence] wasn’t an obvious move, to be honest. Because as a midfielder, he was good!
“He was technical, he was fast, he was strong and he could play. He had the qualities you would want in a midfield player.”
Konate’s coach at Sochaux Albert Cartier also added: “He was so mature. With or without the ball, he knew what to do.
“He always listened, he was calm and he was always humble. You could see straight away that he had big potential.”
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Konate became an integral part of Julian Nagelsmann’s fast-paced and free-flowing Leipzig team which finished second in the Bundesliga last season.
The Frenchman was required to be extremely confident playing out from the back while launching attacks with his accurate long-range passing, something that has been evident since a young age.
Liverpool will be able to breathe a sigh of relief now at having someone so comfortable on the ball, while he also possesses the strength and athleticism to prevent goals on the counter-attack.
Konate is expected to partner the impenetrable van Dijk in defence once the latter returns having missed 33 games due to injury.
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