Liverpool assistant coach Peter Krawietz has praised new Reds defender Ibrahima Konate, suggesting the £36m summer signing from RB Leipzig has all the potential to become ‘world class’ and explaining precisely why the club’s coaching staff think so highly of him.
Konate only recently turned 22 but has already played over 100 first-team games for Leipzig and first club Sochaux, making his debut for the latter over four years ago when he just 17.
Liverpool had planned to recruit a centre-back ever since the departure of Dejan Lovren last summer but opted to try and survive the season as they were so that limited resources could be focused on other positions instead – signing Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota.
It was hoped that defensive midfielder Fabinho would provide sufficient back-up if needed, only for Liverpool to end up being badly punished for that judgement call when starters Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both suffered season-ending injuries a few weeks into the campaign.
Despite the impressive late season form of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams, centre-back became the priority position for Liverpool and the club had wrapped up a Konate deal before the end of May.
Krawietz has explained that the Frenchman ticked every box Liverpool were looking for.
“In him we see the absolute potential to develop into a world-class centre-half. That’s of course what we want,” the Liverpool coach explained to the club’s official website.
Krawietz commented on Konate’s rare mix of still being young but already having several years of experience at a top level and labelled the player’s qualities as ‘pretty obvious’.
“He is a smart centre-half and in terms of defending, of course he has the physical body to be a proper centre-half,” he explained.
“In England we all know what the things are they need to bring to the team: they need to be tall, they need to be quick, they need to be strong in the air and of course it’s important always for us as well that they fit in our tactical profile. In him, we see all of these qualities.
“He is also very, very comfortable and calm on the ball, which is so important for us and our style of football, which is to realise a really calm and safe build-up for our attacking situations. We see all these qualities in him and that is why he is such a promising and interesting package.”