As the folks on Twitter who like to use “Top Red” unironically will tell you, it has been a quiet summer for incoming players so far. Of course, those same folks will “forget” that Liverpool splashed a considerable chunk of change for a new center back Ibrahima Konaté before the transfer window even opened.
Konaté, on the other hand, seems absolutely made up to be at Liverpool, judging by his social media posts. Moreover, the Liverpool coaching staff are also excited to work with this talented young defender.
Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders elaborated on Konaté’s adjustment to playing for Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
“Ibou is doing really well,” Pep said, “He comes from a different style, but there are some similarities and he has adapted well to what we want.
“You see him, he is really calm on the ball, he knows how to attack and when to step in when with the ball, when to play the outside pass, when to play the inside pass, when to switch the game. He has a good understanding of the game, attacking-wise.
“Defensively, he is strong and it is something we wanted because we play high – our center-halves and full-backs need to be able to catch players when they break because when you play so offensively, when players slip through we do, of course, have Ali but we firstly want to catch them with our legs – solve the problem with legs. One thing Ibou has his legs!”
After last season’s injury horror show, defenders with legs is a major improvement.
Good Pep also talked about the intensity of the training sessions, because of course he did.
“When we train, each player is under maximum pressure,” Pep continued. “There is never a situation where you just have time and that’s what he is feeling now, that with a little bit more fatigue of training, adaptation to a new club and a new style and then having these sessions where he is constantly under pressure and has to make good decisions, then you see what kind of player you’ve bought.
“He has everything for the type of center-half we want and now it is just about learning, adapting and listening to Millie, listening to Virg and so on. That’s what I like a lot, we have so many young players.”
We know from Kloppo’s time at Liverpool just how vital preseason is to setting the tone for the season. Last year’s camp was less than optimal for a variety of reasons, including inclement weather, and a condensed schedule because of COVID. Hopefully this year’s camp and preseason friendlies will better prepare the players for the long season ahead. With far fewer injuries, Fowler willing.