After playing against the Italian giants at the San Siro and winning 2-1 earlier this month, Milan attacker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was impressed with one player in particular.
Ibrahima Konate stepped in for Virgil van Dijk in the heart of Liverpool’s defense and put in an impressive performance for all 90 minutes. Though the Reds still conceded a goal, they managed a final victory in a notoriously difficult stadium to round off their group matches.
“I asked to exchange shirts with Liverpool defender Konate,” Ibrahimovic said.
“He won all the fights with me on the ground and in the air. I told him that he will be a great defender in the future and that he [should] remember my words well.”
It was an uncharacteristically humble admission from the Swede and well-deserved recognition for Liverpool’s newest defender. Though Konate hasn’t walked right into the team the way that some thought he would after Liverpool shelled out £36million for his services, whenever he is called upon, he’s done well.
Having Konate in the team will be a huge benefit for the Reds, especially as they face the usual winter fixture congestion. This time last season is when injuries effectively dismantled Liverpool’s defense. Another reliable player to add to the mix will hopefully prevent a repeat of that fate this time around.