Ibrahima Konate (Fra) FOOTBALL : France espoirs vs Republique Tcheque - 09/09/2019 JBAutissier/Panoramic.

Ibrahima Konate in line to start France World Cup opener alongside ex-teammate

France begin their World Cup campaign against Australia on Tuesday, with Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate in line to start for Didier Deschamps’ side, according to reports.

Having recently returned from the injury that kept him out of the first two months of the season, Konate was included in France’s 26-man squad as they look to defend their title.

Jules Kounde, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Theo Hernandez, Benoit Badiashile, William Saliba and Dayot Upamecano are the other defenders in the squad who are capable of playing at centre-back.

But with just days remaining until their first group match, reports in France claim Konate is set to get the nod to start.

According to RMC, Deschamps has been preparing for the game with Konate alongside Bayern Munich defender Upamecano in training.

The report claims Konate is likely to line up behind Aurelien Tchouameni, the Real Madrid midfielder who was Liverpool’s top target in the summer transfer window.

Konate and Upamecano know each other well from their days playing next to each other at RB Leipzig, with Upamecano also linked with a move to Liverpool before he opted to join Bayern.

Man United defender Varane has been a key player for France in recent years, but may not be able to feature in the early stages of the tournament as he continues his recovery from injury.

A start for Konate would be a big show of faith from Deschamps, with the Liverpool centre-back only making his debut for the France senior team in their Nations League clash against Austria in June.

2D64T6B France U21's Ibrahima Konate

That appearance, followed up by another 90 minutes against Croatia days later, remain his only two first-team caps for his country to date.

Konate missed Liverpool’s final match before the World Cup against Southampton due to a minor injury that the club didn’t want to take any risks with.

He has, however, been pictured in France training throughout the week, and has clearly shaken off any previous fitness issue.

News that he could be set to start in Qatar will come as no surprise to Liverpool supporters, with Konate excellent in his debut season at the club, and their standout player in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in June.

Injury issues have thwarted his progress this season, but there’s no doubt Konate is more than good enough to be trusted on this stage.