At San Siro, Liverpool goalkeeper Alison did not face a shot on target from Inter Milan. The main reason for it is the defensive duo standing in front of him. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate.
Van Dijk is an experienced player for Liverpool, but Konate has done an impressive job to sync up well with the Dutch defender after moving to Anfield at the beginning of this summer. He adapted quickly at Liverpool, and now he looks like a perfect replacement for Joel Matip.
Konate is setting up a new duo at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. The game against Inter Milan was the proof of it. Both of them were able to communicate comfortably, and it helped them deny the attacking threats of the Nerazzurri.
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was highly praising them. He said: “I think 2-0 probably flatters them. But the bedrock of most performances away from home in this stage of the Champions League is a good defence, and today, that was true for Liverpool.”
“The two centre-backs were immense, Fabinho too. You have to weather storms in games. They had long spells where they were under the cosh but they have that experience to navigate through games and wait for the opportunities that they got.”
Liverpool signed the 22-year-old defender from RB Leipzig in May 2021 after triggering his release clause of 36 million pounds. On 18 September, Konaté made his Premier League debut, starting alongside Virgil Van Dijk, and kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 victory against Crystal Palace. He made his second start of the season, partnering Virgil van Dijk in the first North-West Derby of the season, in which Liverpool beat Manchester United 5-0.
It was the heaviest defeat inflicted on United by Liverpool since 1895 and the heaviest loss United had suffered without scoring since 1955. Konate won plaudits from fans for how he handled star players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes and also featured in Garth Crooks’ team of the week, with Crooks saying, “No frills or skills but he does use his power and strength to maximum effect. This wasn’t Chelsea versus Norwich but Manchester United against Liverpool and Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford hardly had a kick.”
Despite only being 22-years-old, Konate has regularly shown his calmness and composure when on the ball. His passing accuracy and range are very impressive.
Konate already has impressed Jurgen Klopp, and as the matches schedules are very hectic, he will have an essential role in Liverpool’s defence.