Ibrahima Konaté arrived at Liverpool for £36 million, but has not seen many minutes this season despite being handed a start in the rout of Manchester United. While it might be expected that a relatively expensive signing would feature more early on, Konaté is quite young still, and has five years to integrate himself into the side under his current contract.
Of course, giving players time to adapt to the way of playing at Liverpool is nothing new — the likes of Fabinho and Andy Robertson, who are now mainstays in the side, took time to earn their shirts.
For his part, Konaté does not find the situation unexpected or disappointing, and spoke to the Liverpool Echo about his feelings this far this season (including his performance against Manchester United):
“In that game against Manchester United, things went really well for everyone and it was a team effort that allowed us to perform well as individuals and obtain a pretty impressive result.”
The level of game time this far, it seems, has not been disappointing:
“I’m not going to say I was expecting [to start more]. There is a lot of competition for places in this position here at the club and you cannot afford to rest on your laurels at all.
“You have to keep working and working because I’ve achieved relatively nothing so far.
“[Do I fear a lack of game-time]? No. Maybe a little bit of apprehension. But honestly, ever since I started playing football, it’s always been like that.
Whether it be at Paris FC, the Sochaux Academy or at Leipzig, wherever I’ve gone to, there has always been strong competition for places and I’ve always come out of it well.
“So I said to myself that if I sign for Liverpool, it will certainly be at another level, but I have confidence in my ability and I am a Parisian, and you know what Parisians are like!”
Konaté is invested in his future at Liverpool, and is happy to be with the club:
“… I’m going to do everything I can to be able to earn my place in the side here, either in the short-term or looking further ahead.
“Which player wouldn’t want to be playing more matches? That’s a given.
“For sure I’d love to feature in more games and of course win some trophies too. They are my main aims.”
Fans will be pleased with what they’ve seen thus far, and look forward to more solid performances to come.