LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 9, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté celebrates his side's first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We need players” – Ibrahima Konate on new signings after “we screwed up”

Ibrahima Konate knows Liverpool need to tend to their squad in the summer transfer window, with injecting “quality” into the side a non-negotiable.

There can be no sugarcoating Liverpool’s season after a failure to qualify for the Champions League and early knockouts in cup competitions.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side struggled from the outset and despite a late fightback, their fate had been all but sealed – “We screwed up the season” was Konate’s honest assessment.

The centre-back did not shy away from taking responsibility as a playing group, saying “it’s us, it’s the players” who did not do enough.

Throughout the campaign, though, eyes were already cast towards addressing the glaring gaps in the squad in the transfer market, with midfield the obvious department in need of an overhaul.

Alexis Mac Allister is the first cab off the rank, an ideal start, but Konate was upfront with what he expects to see from the club this summer.

“I think the coach and those in charge of recruitment know that we need new players,” Konate told RMC Sport in a recent interview.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, May 3, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) with Ibrahima Konate after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I believe we have four players leaving this season: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, James Milner and Firmino. We have to replace them. If we don’t replace them, what do we do?

“Are we understaffed and lacking in quality? We cannot play with young people at this level.”

It is an example of a player speaking honestly, which is a breath of fresh air, and his view is one that is shared by the majority of supporters.

His words have been translated but the overall message is clear, now it is up to the club to get the right business done.

As Konate hinted at, there is a difference between choosing to select youth players and being forced due to a lack of senior numbers or quality.

And there has been no shortage of links with Khephren Thuram, Manu Kone, Romeo Lavia, Gabri Veiga and Ryan Gravenberch all on the midfield shortlist, while a new defender is also on the cards.

Liverpool’s No. 5 may have a vested interest in seeing Thuram land at Anfield as he is “like a little brother,” but it may prove to be a waiting game to see if that comes to fruition.

And looking further ahead, “we have to remember the mistakes we made and think about next year,” Konate added. “I’m sure it’s going to be a very good season.” We hope so too!