Since Ibrahima Konate’s arrival on Merseyside in May, the Frenchman has only featured in four competitive games for the Reds.
The £36m fee that Liverpool forked out for the former RB Leipzig man left many believing he would be the primary central defensive partner for Virgil van Dijk, however, the Frenchman has only started three Premier League games all season, a decision that journalist Emmet Gates described as ‘odd’.
“It’s an odd one because he was Liverpool’s only signing and they paid £36million for him,” he told Give Me Sport. “He hardly kicked a ball in the opening part of the season.”
The 22-year-old faces competition for a starting place from both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, with the latter ahead of the centre-half in the pecking order until recent weeks.
Paris-born Konate impressed recently in the 5-0 victory over Manchester United and instantly became a fan favourite during a slight altercation with Fred that saw him move the Brazilian out of his way using one arm.
“Before the season started, we knew Virgil van Dijk was returning so it was going to be van Dijk plus one,” the reporter added.
“Whoever that plus one is would be between Matip, Joe Gomez and Konate.
“I thought it was likely to be Konate considering he was Liverpool’s only signing.”
His huge physical presence and impressive pace makes the No.5 the perfect fit for central defence, however, Jurgen Klopp has proved in the past that making players wait patiently for a continued run in the team can be beneficial for both themselves and the team in the long-run.
It would be great to see Konate put a solid defensive display in on Wednesday and help blunt Atletico’s attack and boost his stock within this exciting Liverpool side.
If he can keep reproducing the quality of performance we were treated to in our demolition of the Red Devils in their back garden, there’s no reason why the ex-Bundesliga defender can’t lock down a regular starting berth in the first-XI.