How Liverpool could line up next season with Ibrahima Konate
Liverpool’s defence of their Premier League title has been limp this season, with Manchester City set to reclaim their crown sooner rather than later.
Indeed, the Reds have been so poor this season that they face a fight to even qualify for the Champions League as, with five games remaining, they are seven points adrift of the top four.
A major factor in their abject performances this campaign has been the crumbling of their defence, as for the majority of the season they have had to contend without the talismanic figure of Virgil van Dijk as well as Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
This has resulted in dozens of central defensive combinations at the back.
Youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams were brought in, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have had to play there, while Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies were signed from Schalke and Preston respectively in the January transfer window.
Kabak is only on loan, though Liverpool do have the option to make the deal permanent.
One deal that does look close, is the acquisition of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.
The young defender has had a season troubles with injuries but Liverpool have been impressed enough with his development prior to that and in the games since to trigger his alleged £30 million release clause.
Liverpool XI with Konate
Alisson will naturally start in goal next season, with the usual full-backs of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson also featuring.
For 2021/22 Liverpool will basically have a completely new central defensive pairing as Van Dijk hasn’t played all season, while Konate should come in to partner him. However, Gomez should not be ruled out due to Konate’s arrival as the Englishman will still have a massive part to play for the club moving forward, though he will also provide some much-needed cover for Alexander-Arnold.
Joel Matip will act as the fourth-choice centre-back.
With Gini Wijnaldum looking likely to leave at the expiration of his contract that will leave the club light in central midfield.
They will likely dive into the transfer market to find a replacement for the Dutchman, but from the players already there; Jordan Henderson, Thiago, and Fabinho seems the most likely trio, with Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also involved.
In attack, it seems a matter of time before Diogo Jota permanently puts Roberto Firmino out the team to play alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.