New Liverpool signing Ibrahima Konaté is preparing for a gruelling first season at Anfield after his move from RB Leipzig this summer.
Jürgen Klopp and Michael Edwards made the decision to trigger Konaté’s transfer release clause from the Bundesliga in early June. The France U21 international centre-back was purchased for a fee of £36 million and will take the number 5 jersey vacated by former Red Gini Wijnaldum.
Konaté is currently in Austria with Klopp and the first-team squad undergoing an intensive pre-season training camp.
He spoke to Liverpoolfc.com about his first impressions of the club, how tough the fitness regime has been, taking Gini’s number 5, and more.
“I am very happy to be here with the team. My first impressions, I am very happy because I work with great players and I know I will [improve] here and I will be better with time. I’m very happy because we work together, everybody is happy and this is good.
“… before the pre-season, I worked in Paris and on holidays, and I prepared the pre-season. Now I am ready for hard work.
“I think it’s an important number for this club. A great player had this number before me. I have not pressure but a little bit of pressure because I have to improve for the future. I hope I will do great things with this number.”
When asked which players he has bonded with so far, Konaté commented:
“With Van Dijk a little bit; Mane because he speaks French; Naby, I knew him for a long time; Origi and Salah. I think I can speak with every player step by step, it will be good.”
Asked if he had a preferred nickname to be called by, he said:
“Yes, ‘Ibou’ because when I was young, every time my mother would call me ‘Ibou, Ibou’. When I was on the first day in Leipzig, she was with me and she would say every time, ‘Hey, Ibou… Ibou… Ibou…’ and Ralf Rangnick asked, ‘Why ‘Ibou’?’ So, I said it was my nickname because every time my mum would call me that every time and my family too. He said, ‘OK, now it’s Ibou’ and afterwards everyone would call me it.”
️ “My first impressions, I am very happy because I work with great players and I know I will improve here.”
| @IbrahimaKonate_‘s first interview
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) July 16, 2021
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