Ibrahima Konate was at his imposing best against West Ham, with the young defender again showing Liverpool fans what can they come to expect in the short, medium and long term.
The young Frenchman was again Jurgen Klopp‘s choice to start next to Virgil van Dijk in Joel Matip‘s absence and was readily pitted against Michail Antonio.
While he did not hit the ground running on the night, Konate soon imposed himself and readily handled the West Ham striker to ensure his sight of goal was never an easy one.
Physical, competitive and ready to impose himself across the line, Liverpool fans loved what they saw from the centre-back in what was his 17th appearance for the club:
Van Dijk is the best defender we’ve ever seen and now we’ve got VvD 2.0 playing next to him in Konate
— – (@TLister77) March 5, 2022
Ibrahima Konaté is yet to lose for Liverpool in 18 appearances in all competitions (W13 D5) – the longest unbeaten start to a player's #LFC career since Ray Houghton didn't lose any of his first 23 appearances in 1987-88. #LIVWHU
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) March 5, 2022
#LIVWHU scrappy win!
Diaz looked sharp again & Konate again looked the part again!!?? pic.twitter.com/9YrFqqXx5h
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) March 5, 2022
Huge performance from Ibrahima Konate today. Absolute class.
— Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) March 5, 2022
Really enjoyed the battle between Konate and Antonio today. Konate is going to be some player! 12 wins in a row ???? #LIVWHU
— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) March 5, 2022
Love that Antonio knew better than to take on Virgil so tried to bully Konate. And Konate was like : pic.twitter.com/QQr675Oyxt
— Biggies Malls 2.0 (@Biggies_MaIIs) March 5, 2022
Konate had a rocky start vs Antonio but come the end of the game I thought he did really well. Handled a player who usually causes so many issues to a few pot shots here and there.
— barry (@BackseatsmanLFC) March 5, 2022
Konate is like the perfect understudy to Van Dijk, shares similar traits and just looks so comfortable already. Hopefully manages to keep a clean sheet here
— Dinesh Kumar (@DHardayal) March 5, 2022
I love how Antonio just avoided Virgil, and then realised big Ibou Konate was just as good. Love that lad, another fantastic signing.
— Jay (@ScouseSocialism) March 5, 2022
Dealing with Antonio for 90mins is a big ask. Thought Konate did really well. Went toe to toe with him & wasn’t bullied
— Jay (@Jay82_LFC) March 5, 2022
The 22-year-old arrived in the summer knowing he had stern competition on his hand for a place in the side but he quickly leapt ahead of Joe Gomez in the pecking order.
Klopp has readily voiced his delight at Konate, recently saying “He has all the skills he needs to be a good centre-half” and the welcome fact is that “He can be so much better.”
It’s an exciting prospect and he represents the next wave at Liverpool and plying his trade alongside Virgil van Dijk will only accelerate his growth.