Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that his side have taken the unique opportunity that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has presented and recharged the batteries and stabilised the ship after a poor start to the season.
With Mohamed Salah, Thiago Alcantara, Joel Matip, Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson some of the high-profile names that did not make it to the World Cup finals, the cohesion and stability that had somewhat teetered off balance now has every possibility of returning to former vigour.
One player who sits on the other side of this spectrum, however, is Jordan Henderson who proved the doubters wrong in stunning fashion at the World Cup, linking up with Jude Bellingham superbly in the middle of the park as he scored in the round-of-16 versus Senegal.
However, he isn’t the only Red to stake his claim in the Middle East with Ibrahima Konate also impressing. Klopp will no doubt be delighted to see him advance to the World Cup final with France at the expense of Morocco off the back of some titanic displays.
Considering so many members of the squad are resting and awaiting the return of club football, Konate’s endeavours on the international stage will come as an optimistic boost for the rest of the squad, with the cheer to see him clinch gold an infectious bug likely to spread across the Reds camp.
Liverpool signed Konate in the summer of 2021 after paying RB Leipzig his £36m release clause, and his starring role for Les Bleus encapsulates the growing momentum behind the six-cap star’s budding career, with the Merseyside outfit already looking as though they have struck gold with his acquisition.
Indeed, the 23-year-old colossus won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup with Liverpool in his debut season, narrowly missing out on an unprecedented quadruple, making 29 appearances and scoring three goals.
Injuries have prevented the Frenchman from gaining steam on Merseyside this term, restricting him to just four appearances all campaign, throwing his inclusion in Didier Deschamps’ World Cup squad into jeopardy.
Konate has made a resounding comeback, however, and has flourished in Qatar, recording a rating of 7.38 and having played four times, starting thrice, as per Sofascore.
His 92% passing accuracy, 3.8 tackles, 3.0 clearances and 1.8 interceptions on average per outing have left him in very good stead indeed with both club and country managers, with his robust and aggressive approach to his defensive duties proving invaluable for his side.
And having won 100% of his aerial duels, the towering titan is clearly a force to be reckoned with, switching on his offensive tap too with an average of 0.5 shots per game.
This is further illustrated by FBref, who rank the “unbelievable” Konate within the top 6% of centre-backs for rate of non-penalty goals across the past year, also ranking him within the top 9% for aerial success rate, further illuminating his pedigree as a slick modern defender.
Liverpool legend Phil Thompson once heralded Konate as a “dream”, and with such stellar displays thickening like a broth, he might yet forge an illustrious pathway to success at Liverpool, perhaps off the back of a stunning triumph at the World Cup, with France.
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