Liverpool are currently facing a crisis at centre-back following numerous injuries to defenders in recent weeks.
The Reds have earned plenty of praise for their improvements made defensively this season – conceding just seven goals in the Premier League has contributed greatly to their position in the table. Virgil van Dijk has fully repaid his £75m price tag and built a wonderful relationship with Joe Gomez before the youngster suffered an injury against Burnley. The ex-Charlton youngster will miss around six weeks with a lower leg fracture.
Joel Matip stepped up in his absence but was also ruled out of action with a shoulder injury leaving Dejan Lovren as the only recognised defender alongside van Dijk. Jurgen Klopp has youngster Nathaniel Phillips available, but he is yet to be tested at the highest level. Losing another defender could be catastrophic to Liverpool’s title bid, and Klopp should aim to add further cover in January.
One man who should be on his list of targets is RB Leipzig man – Ibrahima Konate. Valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt, the 19-year-old graduated the Sochaux youth academy before moving to Germany in January 2017 on a free transfer. Konate made 16 league appearances in his debut season at the club but has taken his game to the next level in the current campaign; the Frenchman has been an integral part of the side so far.
The youngster is blessed with terrific pace for a defender, allowing him to keep up with the quickest of forwards and cover for his team-mates if necessary. Konate also loves to get stuck in, averaging 1.5 tackles in the Bundesliga this season. Despite his young age, the France U20 international reads the game exceptionally well, completing an impressive 2.2 interceptions per game this season (WhoScored).
Under Klopp’s tutelage, Konate could become a Premier League great in years to come.
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