Virgil van Dijk has labelled fellow Liverpool central defender Ibrahima Konate as a ‘fantastic player’ and claimed it’s ‘crazy’ how good the Frenchman is at just 22-years-old.
Joel Matip has been the preferred partner alongside our No. 4 for the majority of the season, but when Konate has been called upon, as he was against Villarreal on Wednesday, he has performed superbly.
“A fantastic player,” van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com.
“To be that good already at such an age, it’s crazy, in my opinion.
“Obviously he still has loads to learn and, in my opinion, as a centre-back I think it comes with experience, dealing with situations, dealing with mistakes, dealing with moments that you fail [in] maybe to make sure it doesn’t happen anymore.
“But he is already at such a high level and such consistency as well. So, it’s great to have each other and push each other each and every day. Joel obviously an incredible season as well, so let’s keep that going.”
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The former RB Leipzig man has made just eight Premier League appearances since his summer switch from the Bundesliga outfit in the summer, but he has played every single minute of our FA Cup run which will see us face Chelsea in next month’s final as well as playing four of our five Champions League knockout games this season.
With age on Konate’s side, he’s very much an option for both now and the future.
His pace and strength mean he has the perfect attributes to be successful at the heart of our defence and his heading ability is another serious strong point.
In recent games, he scored in three successive appearances; both Champions League quarter-final clashes with SL Benfica as well as a bullet header against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final clash at Wembley.
Let’s hope he can continue to perform solidly whenever he’s called upon.
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