Jurgen Klopp explains decision to start Jarell Quansah over Ibrahima Konate

Jurgen Klopp has explained that he has given Jarell Quansah his first Liverpool start away to Wolves to avoid “forcing it” with Ibrahima Konate.

Quansah is one of three players to come into the starting lineup after the international break, with the 20-year-old making his full debut.

It was a surprise development when the teamsheet was released at Molineux, but comes after an impressive pre-season and two substitute appearances already this campaign.

Speaking to BBC Sport prior to kickoff, Klopp revealed that, with Konate only having returned from a hamstring injury earlier in the week, the decision was made not to “force it.”

Ibrahima Konate only came back two days ago, we could have forced it, but Jarell Quansah came on twice and did really well,” the manager said.

“We tust him so I hope he can enjoy it.”

In a pre-match interview with TNT Sports, Klopp admitted that it was a “pretty big” occasion for the academy graduate, but backed Quansah to shine.

“I think it’s pretty big, but we try to make as little of it as possible,” he said.

“I think he showed now, [he did] in pre-season anyway, but in the two games when he came on how good a player he is.

“So I think it makes most sense when we deal with it pretty naturally.

“We didn’t speak a lot, I just put him in the team yesterday and let him go. Now let’s hope that he can enjoy it!”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 2, 2023: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold goes off injured to be replaced by substitute Jarell Quansah during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Quansah, who was born in Warrington, joined Liverpool as a five-year-old and has made swift progress through the ranks in recent years.

He was one of 16 players to feature in all five of the Reds’ warmup friendlies in pre-season, before coming off the bench against Newcastle and Aston Villa.

Virgil van Dijk remains suspended for Saturday’s clash, while Trent Alexander-Arnold misses out with a hamstring problem.

Konate is on the bench along with the likes of Ryan Gravenberch, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez.