Liverpool’s biggest need heading into the offseason was to bring in a high quality centre half after a season that saw the club punished harshly for carrying just three proven senior players at the position.
They filled that need with little fuss and fanfare when the season ended, quickly finalizing a deal to bring Ibrahima Konaté to Anfield from RB Leipzig and adding one of Europe’s best young centre halves to the squad.
“In him we see the absolute potential to develop into a world-class centre half,” assistant manager Peter Krawietz said of Konaté. “He is a young player still, but also experienced. He played a few years in the Bundesliga.
“His qualities are pretty obvious. He is a smart centre half and in terms of defending, of course he has the physical body to be a proper centre half. In England we all know what the things are they need to bring.
“They need to be tall, they need to be quick, they need to be strong in the air, and of course it’s important always for us as well that they fit in our tactical profile. In him, we see all of these qualities.”
Krawietz is also bullish about Konaté’s qualities on the ball, with four years in the Bundesliga as a regular for Leipzig giving the player plenty of time to refine his techincal game despite having only turned 22 in May.
The only possible downside one when looking at Konaté seems to be a spotty injury history, but the club are convinced none of his past issues speak to a player who is especially prone to missing time moving forward.
He’s also a player the coaches expect to adapt quickly to his new club, both because he will get a full pre-season with Liverpool and also because the side he’s coming from play a similar defensive system.
“Leipzig and Liverpool, we have a similar philosophy of playing with a very high line,” Krawietz added. “On the other hand, each manager has his own philosophy and the details are often enough different.
“But we know and we see that he will be smart enough to learn all the little secrets about our game and to adapt. This is what we see and we see the potential for him to learn how we do things pretty quickly.”