With the English striker being Spurs’ lone bright spot, Konate may try to keep him quiet today
Liverpool’s pursuit of European football continues today, and they can take a huge step towards that goal by capitalizing on Tottenham Hotspur’s poor form.
Welcoming Ryan Mason’s side to Anfield, there is optimism on Merseyside that a routine win is on the cards, given the Lilywhites’ recent misfortune.
Their 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Newcastle United is still fresh in their minds, but having come back from two goals down against Manchester United, their most recent 2-2 draw will give a tired-looking side some hope.
Despite their difficulties, Harry Kane has been the only consistent performer at the top. The English striker simply knows how to score goals and will most likely be Tottenham’s main threat today.
As a result, Jurgen Klopp will try to neutralize him through personnel changes.
Although Joel Matip scored the game-winning goal last time out, his defensive exploits pale in comparison to Ibrahima Konate’s commanding presence. The £36m Frenchman is surely due a return to the starting lineup after being confirmed as not injured in their recent win over West Ham United, and thus fully fit to play today.
Will Ibrahima Konate start against Tottenham?
Despite only making 13 league appearances this season due to various injuries, the 23-year-old remains a top defender when available, capable of competing with the game’s best forwards.
According to Sofascore, his 6.84 rating for this stuttering season understates his importance, as he maintains an 88% pass accuracy alongside 1.5 interceptions, 2.2 tackles, and 3.5 clearances per game.
In comparison, his partner Virgil van Dijk only achieves a higher pass accuracy and slightly more clearances of those four metrics, highlighting the lack of a significant difference in quality.
Journalist Leanne Prescott highlighted the importance of the £70,000-per-week star earlier this season, writing: “Delighted for Konate. What a difference he’s made this season when he’s been available.”
With Kane quietly boasting a fine goalscoring season, with 24 in the league, many may have forgotten just how impressive this finisher can be due to Erling Haaland’s notoriety elsewhere.
However, scoring six goals in his last seven Premier League games despite only winning one is a testament to his tenacity.
The Reds, who are expected to dominate possession and impose their will on the game, will look to start the majority of their attacks from the back. With Konate alongside the aforementioned Dutch goliath, both of whom are excellent ball-players, they will be able to play around Kane and frustrate the 29-year-old.
The former can then use his strength and speed to keep the £200k-per-week star out of possession and use his physicality to ensure he earns no joy in front of what is sure to be a hostile Anfield crowd. It’s time for Konate to show why journalist Charlotte Coates dubbed him a “monster” once more.