Ibrahima Konate has the makings of a world-class defender – if he learns from the sloppy errors

When Ibrahima Konate leapt to head in his first goal for Liverpool against Benfica he had a camera flash moment in a commanding first half that suggested he is destined to become one of the world’s best centre-backs.

The young Frenchman had another one at the start of the second, this time with head in hands after his unforced error – an embarrassing air kick as the ball bounced between his legs – gifted one of Europe’s most coveted strikers, Darwin Nunez, a goal that, for a little while at least, transformed Liverpool’s night from simple to stressful.

It completely altered Konate’s night, too. Until that moment, it had been a sublime display of domineering defending. He was superb in every aspect, so imposing physically and so quick over the ground that he made some difficult things look ridiculously easy.

Moments before his perfect downward header had given Liverpool the lead, Konate had been in a foot race with the constantly threatening Nunez. Chasing a ball in behind the defence, Konate put his foot down and reached it first before leaning his shoulder into the striker, who bounced off and crashed to the turf in an ungainly heap. Pace, power and poise – anyone who admires the art of defending will have nodded in appreciation.

It was a tremendous piece of play for anyone in that position, and not the only example of it he produced.

It appeared to be a breakout performance for a young defender who was signed to put pressure on Joel Matip and Joe Gomez in competition to become Virgil van Dijk’s first-choice partner. 

He has had to be patient, he has been eased into things since his £36 million move from RB Leipzig last summer, but, on European football’s biggest stage, Konate looked like he had been snuffing out danger at this level for years. A player who has been compared to Van Dijk in the past was every bit as good as him.

At the age of 22, Konate has everything you want in a modern centre-back. In fact, he probably has more than that. He is blessed with every single physical attribute an elite athlete requires.

Standing at six foot four inches, with broad shoulders, he is muscular with long limbs that engulf attacking players when he wins the ball and gobbles up the ground when he sprints.

Konate is not just quick for his size, he is genuinely rapid. According to Opta, the France Under-21 international has recorded the fourth-fastest sprint time in a Premier League game this season behind Antonio Rudiger, Mo Salah and Adama Traore.

He will probably go on to become one of the best centre-backs over the next few years, but there is more to defending than looking good. 

It is always dangerous to throw the spotlight on a defender when they score a goal. Players scoring goals make headlines, but defenders are judged on what they do to stop teams scoring more rigorously.

The goal was a bonus. A really nice one for him and hardly irrelevant when it put Liverpool in front, away from home, in a Champions League quarter-final that his side went on to win 3-1.

Related Posts

the american dictionary merriam webster named the word of the

The American dictionary Merriam Webster named the word of the year 2022

The compilers of the dictionary draw a parallel with the present. Webster’s Dictionary Named Top Word of 2022 / merriam-webster.com The compilers of the American dictionary Merriam…

for the first time meladzes daughter spoke openly about her

For the first time, Meladze’s daughter spoke openly about her illness and her studies in the USA

Leah admitted that it is very difficult for her to be far from Ukraine in such a difficult time. So she wants to come back as soon…

in the morning russia attacked kryvyi rih with missiles

The sounds of explosions in two cities: there was an air alert in a number of regions of Ukraine (video)

Explosions were heard in two regional centers, the network reported. In some regions of Ukraine, an air alert was announced late in the evening / facebook.com /…

in the spring russia discussed the possibility of a nuclear

In the spring, Russia discussed the possibility of a nuclear strike on Ukraine – Newsweek

At the same time, according to the publication, Putin did not take part in such discussions, since only he can decide on the use of such weapons…

macron in the us will discuss the war in ukraine

Macron in the US will discuss the war in Ukraine with Biden – CNN

A joint press conference of the presidents is to be held on December 1. Emmanuel Macron / photo president.gov.ua French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the war…

when ukraine will return crimea arestovych gave an encouraging forecast

When Ukraine will return Crimea: Arestovych gave an encouraging forecast (video)

Crimea is an extremely inconvenient and vulnerable object for defense. Ukraine can return Crimea in six months / photo ua.depositphotos.com Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the President’s Office,…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *