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Klopp welcomes “harsh lessons” for Ibrahima Konate on Liverpool debut

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Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for Ibrahima Konate after his competitive debut for Liverpool, and welcomed the “harsh lessons” learned starting against Crystal Palace.

Konate has been a peripheral figure since his £36 million move from RB Leipzig, with Klopp largely relying on Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip as his centre-back pairing.

But after a first start to the season for Joe Gomez in midweek, it was the Frenchman’s turn to be rotated into the side at Anfield, lining up next to Van Dijk in the 3-0 win over Palace.

There were very positive moments from Konate, but also times when he struggled with the intensity of the game, which can be expected from a player whose last competitive outing came for the France under-21s in May.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp hailed the natural ability of his new No. 5, noting how these challenges can help him adapt.

“I think we all saw what kind of potential the boy has, it’s incredible. Physicality, technique, game understanding is all there,” he told reporters.

“But as a young boy, already skilled like obviously Ibou is, then you rely sometimes on these skills.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The Premier League teaches harsh lessons. Today was a good example, Crystal Palace playing with first Benteke, then Edouard, Zaha all the time cutting inside, Ayew around.

“That’s proper. These are proper strikers and he did really well.

“Of course, when you play your first game, it’s maybe not nice when you play in a completely new last line.

“But together with Virg and Milly on his side, it worked really well; Kostas played a top game as well.

“So it worked well, but there is a lot more to come from him. He’s still young and, yes, they all had to adapt to the way we play and to the league, of course, as well.

“That’s a special league here. He’s in a really good way, I’m really happy about the process.”

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