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Liverpool: Neil Jones drops early team news

Liverpool: Neil Jones drops early team news -Liverpool News correspondent Neil Jones expects a Liverpool centre-back change ahead of the UEFA Champions League semi-final clash with Villarreal. 

The lowdown: Big game player

Having arrived at Anfield from RB Leipzig for £36million in 2021 (Sky Sports), Ibrahima Konate has already gone from strength to strength in a short spell on Merseyside.

Signed following a wretched 2020/21 campaign with central defensive issues in Jurgen Klopp’s squad, the Frenchman was expected to act as an understudy to a returning Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez.

However, Konate has already been thrown in at the deep end on numerous occasions, starting against Manchester United at Old Trafford, in the FA Cup semi-final success over Manchester City and in both legs of the quarter-final victory over Benfica.

Now, Klopp could be about to show the 22-year-old even more faith…

The latest: Jones drops starting XI claim

Taking to Twitter when citing an in-depth report on the centre-back, Jones suggested that Konate is in line to start when the Reds face Villarreal at Anfield.

“I may be wrong, but I expect Ibrahima Konaté to start for Liverpool tonight. As debuts seasons go, his has been more than decent, and with the promise of even better things to come.”

Meanwhile, a report from the Liverpool Echo has noted that neither Kostas Tsimikas nor Roberto Firmino were spotted in Tuesday’s training session and both could be out of contention for the European showdown.

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The verdict: No dramas

Previously, the prospect of breaking up such a well-oiled partnership of Matip and Van Dijk might’ve sent shivers down the spine of even the most hard-faced Liverpool fan. However, such is the impact and quality of Konate, that the thought of the 13-cap France Under 21 colossus being involved from the outset has become the norm.

So far this season, the man once hailed as ‘exceptional’ by Kevin Campbell has made 22 appearances across all competitions, completing 55.6 passes, winning 4.4 aerials duels and making 3.5 clearances per game on average whilst earning a 7.08 rating from eight Premier League outings in the process (Sofascore).

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Such is the wealth of options currently at Klopp’s disposal and the quality of recent recruitment, almost whoever is asked to lineup will almost undoubtedly do so with a high level of performance and Konate’s early showings at Anfield mean the powerful defender is certainly no exception.

In other news, an expert has made a Liverpool transfer claim. Read more here.

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