Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate has ‘settled straightaway’ following his £36m summer transfer from RB Leipzig in the opinion of new Reds teammate Sadio Mane.
Konate has only featured in pre-season and is yet to make his competitive Liverpool debut after remaining an unused substitute for the first three Premier League games of the new campaign, but Mane has been ‘surprised’ by how quickly the 22-year-old has adapted to his new club.
“He is a very nice lad and from the first day he was with us I was really surprised because it was like he has been here for years,” Mane recently told Liverpool’s matchday programme. “With myself that was not the case because I am a bit shy, but he just came in and settled straightaway which is really important.
“You could see in pre-season that he was doing well from the start and we are really, really happy to have him. I feel that this year he will have a great season for Liverpool.”
Jurgen Klopp has favoured Joel Matip alongside the fit-again Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool’s games against Norwich, Burnley and Chelsea so far.
There is competition for Konate from Joe Gomez, who is also yet to start this season but did briefly feature off the bench for stoppage time against Burnley. Yet with the Champions League group stage starting in under two weeks’ time and Liverpool also due to face Norwich in the EFL Cup later this month, fans will hope to see the Frenchman get his chance with squad rotation.
Konate adds vital depth to Liverpool’s defensive ranks that wasn’t there last season when both Van Dijk and Gomez both suffered long-term injuries only a few weeks into the campaign.
“His physical attributes are very impressive; he is quick, he is very strong and he is dominant in the air,” Klopp said when Konate’s arrival was first announced in late May.
“I am confident we are signing a player who can play for us right away, but he is a boy of 22 years of age who has room to improve because of his massive potential.”