Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate could missed his side’s Premier League clash with Newcastle United this weekend through injury.
The Reds have made a solid start to their 2023/24 campaign, starting with a 1-1 draw away to Chelsea, before winning 3-1 at home to Bournemouth last weekend.
Next up is Sunday’s trip to a Newcastle side brimming with confidence at the moment, so it could easily be Liverpool’s biggest test yet this season.
While the Merseysiders have been boosted by the news that Alexis Mac Allister is available, having seen his red card against Bournemouth overturned earlier this week, a big injury blow has emerged.
Taking to Twitter, reliable journalist David Lynch claimed that Konate could miss out this weekend:
“Trent Alexander-Arnold available for Liverpool’s trip to Newcastle. Ibrahima Konate is a doubt.”
Our verdict on Konate’s possible absence against Newcastle…
Not having Konate available at St James’ Park would be an enormous setback for Liverpool, with the Frenchman’s pace and power integral to the way the Reds play in this new system.
He has the ability to cover a huge amount of ground, with Trent Alexander-Arnold often vacating his right-back role, and that is something that Joel Matip and Joe Gomez don’t seem able to do in comparison.
The former isn’t the player he once was and lacks the speed of Konate, considering he is now 32 years of age, while the latter has been impacted by a string of serious injuries and feels like a big downgrade on his 24-year-old teammate these days.
Matip feels like the more likely option to go with for Jurgen Klopp, but should he do that, this new system with Alexander-Arnold in midfield should arguably be scrapped on Sunday, going with a more functional 4-3-3 in the process.
Some could argue that ditching it would be showing a lack of faith in other squad players, but Newcastle look a top-quality side at the moment, and they could have a field day if Matip or Gomez struggle having to cover such a big area.
Konate was arguably Liverpool’s standout defender last season, and his importance these days is huge, so the impact his absence could have on Sunday’s result cannot be overstated.