Martin Skrtel raves over Liverpool youngster who ‘will be very important for the club’s future’

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Martin Skrtel has spoken glowingly about Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate, who he believes ‘will be very important for the club’s future’.

The Frenchman joined from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2021, enabling the Reds to shake off the disappointment of being turned down by his then-teammate Dayot Upamecano, who instead signed for Bayern Munich (The Mirror).

However, the Slovakian believes his former club made the right choice in signing the 23-year-old, who he reckons will be a crucial player at Anfield over the next few years.

In an interview for The Athletic, Skrtel said: “When I was playing in Turkey a few years ago, we played against Leipzig and at the time, everyone was talking about this guy (Dayot) Upamecano. I told my friend, ‘The other centre-back Leipzig have got is even better’.

“I was so happy when Liverpool signed him. Konate is such a good player. He’s strong physically and he seems strong mentally too, and he’s good with the ball. He’s still young and will be very important for the club’s future.”

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Although Konate has endured the frustration of an injury-interrupted season, he’s still shown his worth to Jurgen Klopp whenever he’s been available.

As per WhoScored, he averages more interceptions (1.4) and clearances (four) per game than any of his teammates, also ranking in the top three at Anfield for aerial duels won (two) and tackles made (two) per match.

The 23-year-old is clearly a no-nonsense centre-back, but he’s also adept with the ball at his feet, posting the second best passing accuracy rate (88.1%) of anyone to start for the Reds in the 2022/23 Premier League (WhoScored).

Skrtel isn’t the only former Liverpool centre-back to speak highly of Konate. Last year, Phil Thompson described the Frenchman as ‘like an absolute dream’ (Off The Ball, via HITC), a fine endorsement coming from the man who captained us to European Cup glory in 1981.

The 6 foot 5 colossus has played 43 times for the club so far, with Virgil van Dijk alongside him for 28 of those (Transfermarkt). With the Dutchman now 31, the likelihood is that his younger colleague will eventually supplant him as the lynchpin of Klopp’s defence.

As the Slovakian has said, the 23-year-old could indeed be an integral presence at Anfield over the next few years, already gaining valuable experience alongside one of the best defenders in the world while posting some very impressive performance figures himself.

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