Liverpool ended pre-season with an exclamation point, sending out a fully changed eleven against Osasuna just 24 hours after playing a friendly against Athletic Bilbao and romping to a comfortable 3-1 victory.
It was their second strong showing in as many days, and a second game at Anfield in front of a nearly full crowd after last season playing mostly to empty seats. And for new signing Ibrahima Konaté, that made it special.
“I don’t have the words to explain my feelings when I put my first foot on the pitch,” Konaté said of his first chance to play at Anfield. “It’s amazing and I’m very happy to have my first game at Anfield with fans.
“Today was amazing. I cannot imagine the stadium in the Premier League or Champions League. I think we did a very good game together and this is the most important, [so] I am happy about my performance.”
Based on pre season, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the young centre half starts on Saturday against Norwich City—though even if Jürgen Klopp sticks with a more experienced pairing, it seems certain Konaté’s time will come.
The season begins at a relatively sedate pace, three Saturdays and three games: Norwich, then Burnley, then Chelsea. Then, after the first international break, the Champions League returns and the schedule picks up.
“It was the last friendly game, the last game of the pre-season,” Konaté added. “Now the Premier League will start and I am very excited for this moment. Now I hope we are ready for the league and the season.”