Mark Lawrenson weighs in on who he thinks will partner Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool’s Champions League final clash with Real Madrid

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Mark Lawrenson has explained ‘there’s not a big difference between’ Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate but he expects the latter to start the Champions League final clash with Real Madrid on May 28.

The ex-Red did acknowledge that the Frenchman has gotten ‘better’ since earning more regular game time under Jurgen Klopp, but was keen to stress why he believes Joel Matip offers Liverpool ‘a bit extra’.

Speaking to Off The Ball (via the Liverpool Echo), he said: “Well, you see I’m Matip, but it looks like Konate. Konate starts in the cup games and he seems to play in Europe, and he’s gotten better and better and better.

“My thing with Matip is that he gives you a bit extra, he gives you everything Konate gives you, but he’ll come out with the ball and engage midfield players, certainly Madrid’s midfield players, that’s the thing, but there’s not a big difference between the two of them.”

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Both players have proved that they’re good enough to partner Virgil van Dijk this season and the duo partner each other in tonight’s clash at Saint Mary’s.

They are both defensively solid, but offer differing threats going forward.

Konate is a serious threat from set pieces with his powerful heading ability whilst Joel Matip has become well known for his ability to stride into midfield and make things happen.

It’s a great problem for Klopp to have and whoever he selects to partner the big Dutchman in Paris in just over a week’s time, we’re happy either way!

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