Arsenal 0 – 2 Liverpool – FA Cup 3rd Man of the Match

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Man of the Match: A Display of Power and Physicality

Ibou Konate

The early evening man of the match was a showing pure power and physicality, with every ounce of desire exuded by the giant Frenchman defender. Whenever I see a team sheet without the name Virgil van Dijk on it, I hesitate and nervously consider the game at hand. With that encounter being an FA Cup 3rd round trip to the Emirates, that hesitation becomes a little more evident, given the world class status of Liverpool’s illustrious captain. I have championed the world class contributions of a few key assets this season, who have been (and will continue to be) the chosen few who could enable the unthinkable this season. Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander Arnold, and Mohamed Salah, are world class footballers that are each the best in their respective positions, throughout all of world football. Their level and ability are enabling the most ludicrous of feats to slowly slide into reality, however, they may be about to be joined by one more name.

Rising Star: Ibrahima Konaté’s Emergence

Ibrahima Konaté was signed as a player who had the potential become a very good player, for just 34m. In the time that has surpassed since the 6ft 4inch arrived on Anfield, the 24-year-old has fluttered with elite status, whilst sat firmly in the shadow of his captain and mentor, Virgil van Dijk. There have also been a few spells where his injured teammate, Joël Matip, has kept him on the fringes of the first team elite, with a more consistent approach enabling the Cameroonian that starting second position. It has always been VVD plus one, which is expected and something that will invariably continue for years to come. What has perhaps shaken Ibou into something close to world class form, is the staggering emergence of Jarell Quansah and the wonderful reemergence of Joe Gomez. Suddenly, the team that was so often set upon last season, is looking like the most well stocked and impenetrable backline group in world football, without a single senior left back about the place. As the levels of each elevated, so has the output of the man that stopped the gunners today.

Career Milestone: Konaté’s Maturity and Performance

At some point in any career, the time to step up in both maturity and performance is thrust upon every elite potential player. The sink or swim mentality is probably not quite in line here, yet this 13-cap France international seems intent on carrying the load at every opportunity. Both he and Trent Alexander Arnold have shown amazing steps in both leadership and maturity since the start of the season, as both again showed today how important they are to the regeneration. That fabled group of four that I mentioned prior, seem set to be joined by the gigantic number 5, who dominated against a dangerous Arsenal team and limited their array of chances to mainly half versions.

The statistics listed show a man determined to push his team into the next round, whilst basking in being the commanding presence without his common rearguard partner. To see both Ibrahima Konaté and Jarell Quansah patrol and protect was tremendous, as the pair strode about their zone with menace and assurance. The want to engage and fight for another is becoming increasingly infectious, as Liverpool v2.0 accelerates into fourth gear. The next round of the FA Cup was secured, something left all four possible trophies still on the table.

Imagine.

I do not think this team is yet ready to mount that kind of offensive on domestic and European football. The issue with that is, nobody told this courageous band of brothers that. One thing that is for absolute certain, is that based upon today’s performance against the all-mighty Arsenal, Ibrahima Konaté would merely stand his ground and fight that battle till the end of time.

Liverpool came for the win and to increase their own momentum. One man stood above all others today and fully deserves the FA Cup 3rd round man of the match award.

https://twitter.com/lfctransferroom/status/1744066285581836437?s=46&t=rxgukmqdoXc4muVFLSx2EQ

Pre-match Prediction;

Arsenal 3 – 2 Liverpool

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