NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 2, 2024: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté (L) and Kostas Tsimikas (R) arrive before the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. Liverpool won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ibrahima Konate insists he wasn’t ‘dropped’ at Liverpool for Jarell Quansah

Ibrahima Konate didn’t play in any of Liverpool’s last four matches but has insisted he wasn’t ‘dropped’ by Jurgen Klopp.

Konate is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the world on his day, but the season just gone saw him hit stumbling blocks in his progression.

Amid repeated injuries, he struggled to reach top form and ultimately didn’t play in any of Liverpool’s last four matches, despite being fit.

Konate was asked by Le Monde how he felt about “demotion” at Liverpool and if he felt ready for the Euros as a result. He replied: “‘Demotion’ is not the right word.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 4, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E match between Liverpool FC and Union SG. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“There was nothing at stake in Liverpool’s last few games. If that had been the case, I would have been in a different mood and I would have discussed it with the manager.

“But I’ve worked twice as hard on my own, alongside my club training, to be ready for this Euro. Mentally, there’s nothing to say. Physically, I’m still lacking a bit of game time in my legs, but I’m not worried.”

The Frenchman is somewhat correct in the sense that there wasn’t much riding on those last few matches, after Liverpool’s collapse in April.

However, the mood at the time was that Jarell Quansah was in better form and had been a better option across the season as a whole.

Consistent niggles and muscle injuries have slowed Konate’s development since arriving at Liverpool in 2021. He admitted this but is remaining positive.

“[I tell] myself that a career is short and that now is not the time to waver,” the 25-year-old said.

“Sometimes, when I’m lying in bed, I say to myself that if I hadn’t been injured, I’d have been really strong, maybe the best central defender today (laughing), but that’s all part of being a footballer.

“It doesn’t stop me from moving forward and, on the contrary, it gives me a steely mentality on the pitch and in my private life.”

In an interesting interview with Le Monde, he also spoke of his support for the victims of destruction in Gaza, Palestine.

He said he voices his support “because we have a voice that carries, that can be important so you have to use it.”

The current violence in Israel and Palestine has killed at least 38,000 people since October 7, 2023.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Konate continued: “It’s complicated because we live in a time when people perceive footballers as uncultured people who only know how to kick a ball.

“We see things like everyone else, we understand things like everyone else. But with the horrific images we’re seeing at the moment, what matters to us is peace and that innocent people stop dying.

“When we see injustice, we have to speak out. Everyone is free to speak out on whatever they want.”

Well said, Ibou.