Konate: Availability Not Ability The 2024 Question

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Konaté’s Impact: Reds’ Defensive Dynamo

As we approach the mid-season mark of the 2023/24 campaign, any spotlight on Liverpool’s defensive monster Ibrahima Konaté should be one of ability vs availability. Konaté’s formidable presence in the heart of the Reds’ backline has been a subject of both admiration and concern. His performances have consistently demonstrated his exceptional abilities; however, his susceptibility to injuries and inability to play regularly is starting to cast a small shadow over his long-term prospects as Liverpool’s first-choice centre back.

Performance and Availability: A Balancing Act

Konaté’s season statistics provide a tale of two narratives. In the Premier League alone, he has featured in 13 matches and often been a top performer for the Reds, where the 792 minutes he has contributed. Due to injuries, he’s often found himself in the second string, as it were, and his four Europa League outings tell their own tale. In terms of contributions across all competitions in the 23/24 season, Konaté has tallied 19 appearances, scored once, and assisted three times which seems impressive, although before Joel Matip’s injury many had him in their first XI for this season.

Photo by IMAGO

Technical Mastery and Physical Prowess

His technical statistics from detailed scouting reports bolster the argument for his elite status. With 88.7% pass completion and an average of 4.89 progressive passes per 90 minutes, Konaté exemplifies the modern defender — comfortable with the ball at his feet and capable of initiating attacks. His physicality is beyond question, and being in the 86th percentile in aerial duels among his centre-back peers across the big five leagues is mighty impressive. Arguably Man of the Match against Arsenal, the question of the best French centre back in the Premier League was emphatically answered.

Injury Concerns: A Recurring Theme

Yet, for all the prowess he displays, the other side of the story is one of frustration. Examining his injury history further underscores the issue. For Liverpool, Konaté is a player of immense quality, whose impact when playing is unequivocal. Yet, his injury record offers a stark reminder that the best players are those who are not just capable but consistently available. He was rested in midweek against Burnley and had already found himself in the treatment room after the first home league game against Bournemouth. That was on the back of a horrendously injury-plagued last campaign for the Paris native.

Looking Ahead: Future Prospects and Decisions

In 2024 and with an eye on the future, Liverpool’s transfer committee does have higher concerns but Ibou’s fitness will be on their radar. A player that’s shone in both Champions League and World Cup finals at such a young age and is clearly popular with everyone at Anfield should be being built around. However, with the likes of Ox, Keita departing and Thiago set to follow, Liverpool have shown that they may be moving away from harbouring players whose injury record and availability has question marks around it. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake we see plenty of Ibou in 2024. That’ll put everyone’s concerns to bed.

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