Liverpool assistant manager Peter Krawietz believes that they have added a defender to their ranks who has the potential to be “world-class”.
Jürgen Klopp and co have added France U21 international centre-back Ibrahima Konaté to the squad this summer. The big defender joins from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Krawietz discussed the talents of Konate and his belief that the 6′ 4″ defender has what it takes to reach the very top in the game:
“In him we see the absolute potential to develop into a world-class centre-half. That’s of course what we want.
“He is a young player still, but also experienced. He played a few years in the German Bundesliga and for several of the French national teams.
“His qualities are pretty obvious. He is a smart centre-half and in terms of defending, of course he has the physical body to be a proper centre-half. In England we all know what the things are they need to bring to the team: they need to be tall, they need to be quick, they need to be strong in the air and of course it’s important always for us as well that they fit in our tactical profile. In him, we see all of these qualities.
“In defending he was well educated in Leipzig and we saw that he will be able to learn all the details we want from our centre-halves.
“He is also very, very comfortable and calm on the ball, which is so important for us and our style of football, which is to realise a really calm and safe build-up for our attacking situations. We see all these qualities in him and that is why he is such a promising and interesting package.
“Now we are very much looking forward to adding him to our group of centre-halves. We are very, very positive about him and very optimistic about the development he will need to do. It will be a process to learn all these things, but his quality and talent are so obvious.”
Krawietz spoke of how happy the staff are that they will get a full pre-season in with Konaté ahead of the new campaign. He also touched on the need to give the youngster time to adapt to his surrounding:
“This is always a massive advantage if you can join in the full pre-season, especially for a new player.
“As I mentioned before, there are a few things which will be different for him from Leipzig coming to Liverpool. Giving him enough time to adapt, to learn, to know the coaching staff and the manager, to give him time to adapt to the whole process of the pre-season and tactically to learn about our style of play – which is not completely different but the details are the most important thing – and to adapt in a physical way [is important].
“[We will be] getting a rested player who will have had a holiday. He will be fit and will have enough time to prepare his move to Liverpool as well, which is so important, and then having the time to train with the team together, this is a massive, massive advantage.”
Liverpool fans everywhere are buzzing with excitement at seeing a potential centre-back pairing of Konaté and Virgil van Dijk. With Joe Gomez and Joël Matip also in the squad, it will be very interesting to see what Klopp’s first-choice pairing will be by the end of the season, injuries permitting.
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