Former Premier League striker Chris Sutton has claimed Ibrahima Konate ‘needs to step up’ at Liverpool and live up to his ‘big reputation’.
The Frenchman has only featured nine times for the Reds this season and has regularly found himself behind Joel Matip in the pecking order to partner Virgil van Dijk in defence.
“Are you happy with Konate?” Sutton asked on BBC Radio 5 Live Sport (via HITC).
“[Liverpool] spent a lot of money on him. He may be a kid, but he has been brought in with a big reputation.
“Liverpool are about winning big trophies, they aren’t a development club. So, you are saying he is a kid, (but) he needs to step up.”
Konate did perform well against Spurs on Sunday and was equally impressive back in October when we defeated Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old joined Jurgen Klopp’s side in the summer from RB Leipzig in a deal reportedly worth around £36m.
Age is still on his side, though – many central defenders don’t reach their peak until their late 20’s.
Virgil van Dijk turned 30 this year and although he may not yet be back to his best following the serious knee injury he suffered, it proves that we may have to wait a little longer until we see the best of our No. 5.
Jurgen Klopp has a lot of patient with his players and will only give players a regular run in the team if he thinks they are ready – the Premier League is a step up from the Bundesliga so it may take Konate a little bit more time until we see what he’s really capable of.
Sutton needs to shut it. Ibou has done very well. Adjusting to the EPL is a tall order for any player. Leave the boy alone. Let him learn and enjoy his life under Klopp!