Home News Jurgen Klopp explains why Ibrahima Konate is on the bench vs. Brighton

Jurgen Klopp explains why Ibrahima Konate is on the bench vs. Brighton

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Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Ibrahima Konate suffered a minor muscle tweak following his return from France duty, with the decision made not to risk him.

Konate played the full 90 minutes as France beat Chile 3-2 in a friendly on Tuesday evening, having not featured for the previous three games for Liverpool due to injury.

It was a shock to see him called up by Didier Deschamps, but the hope was that he would therefore be fully fit for the visit of Brighton.

READ: Confirmed Liverpool lineup vs. Brighton as Gomez and Quansah start

But the 24-year-old was named on the bench for the 2pm kickoff at Anfield, with Jarell Quansah starting in his place – though that was not wholly surprising.

Speaking to Sky Sports before kickoff, Klopp revealed that Konate faced a brief setback in training and was therefore not risked from the start.

“Ibou came back, felt again a little bit muscle-wise,” the manager said.

“Then he got cleared yesterday, trained completely normal, but now we don’t take any kinds of risks – and don’t have to as well.

“Next game coming already on Thursday, so we have to make sure we bring as many players as possible fit through this period, and hopefully the other guys are coming back as soon as possible, then we will see.”

As Klopp mentioned, the fixture list is relentless at this stage of the season, particularly as the Merseyside derby was rescheduled due to Liverpool’s progress in the FA Cup.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 6, 2024: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté (R) and Dominik Szoboszlai during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg match between AC Sparta Praha and Liverpool FC. (Photo by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Sheffield United are up next on Thursday night, before a trip to Man United three days later, with 10 games in the next 35 days.

It makes sense, then, to manage Konate’s minutes, with the No. 5 likely to start in midweek.

“There’s pressure, all the things, like there always is in sports, when you get to the final stages, but it’s opportunity as well,” Klopp continued.

“It depends on you how you want to see it, and I would love to be in it – and we are in it. Let’s give it a go and then we will see.”