How did Ibrahima Konate play on his Liverpool debut in win over Crystal Palace, what did Jurgen Klopp think?

The £36 million summer signing helped the Reds move to the top of the table at Anfield.

<p>Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images</p>

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate. Picture: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Ibrahima Konate finally made his Liverpool debut in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

After joining the Reds for £36 million from RB Leipzig in the summer, the 22-year-old has had to be patient for an opportunity.

But he was given a chance to show his capabilities against the Eagles.

Who did he come in for?

Konate replaced Joel Matip in central defence.

The former Cameron international had featured in all five games before the visit of Palace and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp felt he needed a spell on the sidelines.

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Konate was partnered with Virgil van Dijk, who also came back into the starting XI after he was rested in the 3-2 defeat of AC Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday. Joe Gomez dropped out.

How did Konate perform?

As maiden appearances go, Konate could take plenty of heart from his display.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates with teammates Curtis Jones and Ibrahima Konate after scoring their team’s third goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on September 18, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The France under-21 international helped Liverpool collect a clean sheet, with Alisson rarely being troubled throughout the game.

Overall, it was a 7/10 performance from him.

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Konate’s performance in numbers

Number of touches: 65

Number of passes completed: 48 out of 55 (87%).

Tackles won: 2/3

Aerial duels won: 2/3

Clearances made: 3

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Interceptions made: 1

What did he do well?

Konate certainly displayed his physical strength and maturity in certain situations.

In the 26th minute, Palace striker Christian Benteke got himself into a decent position when he powerfully burst into the box.

Rather than diving in, Konate stayed on his feet before committing himself at just the right time to thwart Benteke’s shot.

In the second period, the 22-year-old again was forced to make a key block. Odsonne Edouard perhaps got away from Konate too easily but he atoned for his mistake to get back and snuff out the danger on 88 minutes.

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Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate made a fine block to stop Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke in his tracks. Picture: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

At the other end of the pitch, Konate showed his craft. In the 36th minute, his clever dummy allowed Diogo Jota to take control of possession in a dangerous area.

The former Sochaux defender also spread the play well on occasions.

Where does he need to improve?

Although Konate had an impressive debut overall, there were a couple of heart-in-the-mouth moments.

In the 18th minute, a poor clearance almost dropped for Joel Ward outside the area.

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Then, a minute later, Konate had a coming together with Wilfried Zaha inside his own box. Luckily, the referee wasn’t interested and Zaha hardly appealed for a penalty, but you have seen those challenges given as spot-kicks.

After the interval, Zaha profited from a poor pass to Milner and broke at pace. Had Connor Gallagher’s touch not let him down after being found on the edge of the box, it could have led to a Palace equaliser.

What did Klopp make of Konate’s display?

The Liverpool boss was pleased with the centre-half overall

“Top,” said Klopp when asked about Konate’s debut after the final whistle. “It is something you dream of and want desperately but when it is coming it is different.

“You want the team to watch the games and see what we do. We need to have experience from what we see. And he did really well.

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“So much potential. He will get better.

“The Premier League teaches you harsh lessons. Today, against Benteke and Edouard and Zaha, there were situations where it is new for him. Step by step.”

When might Konate next play?

Liverpool are in action at Norwich City in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening.

Given Konate has barely played this season, Klopp could again hand him a start at Carrow Road.

He could be partnered with either Gomez or Nat Phillips, who hasn't played this term.

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