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Big boost for Liverpool as player who can help it’s situation returns to training



Tuesday night Liverpool was faced with yet another miserable performance for Liverpool this season as the Reds’ defence was torn apart by Real Madrid, but a key star who can help in that area of the pitch has now returned to training.

Liverpool’s defence has had a tough time this season and both Gomez and Van Dijk put in poor performances on Tuesday night in the Champions League.

The Jurgen klopp will soon be able to call on Ibrahima Konate to help strengthen his defence as the French star has returned to training, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Konate has been unavailable since the FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Brighton on January 29 after suffering a hamstring injury.

The France international has arguably been Liverpool’s best centre-back this season and being in training on Thursday indicates that he will be back soon to help Klopp’s team as they prepare for Saturday evening’s Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.

Konate’s Tactical analysis

Konaté is a central defender in either a back three or a back four. When he steps out of defence to press or to follow an opponent (below) he takes an aggressive approach. It is rare than an opponent will manage to secure the ball when he presses them given how strong he is. Once he gets tight to his man, he does a good job of preventing them from rolling him, turning, or progressing play.

There are occasions when he creates free-kicks. He holds his opponent with both arms to stop them from securing the ball, which also results in fouls committed at times. However, he will often do this in the knowledge that if he does not concede a free-kick, his defensive teammates could be left exposed. There is thought to his fouling and intelligence to defending.

Normally, there is far more to his game, though. He is calm and competent in possession, with good passing ability and the vision to see tough passes. When bringing the ball out of defence, he looks most relaxed at right centre-back, and he looks to break lines with his passing using his stronger right foot. He often bends passes into strikers or wide forwards who make runs through the right inside channel, putting spin on the ball to evade opponents (below). He can either look to find a teammate’s feet in front of the opposition’s defence, or aim to put the ball into the space in behind.

When he is selected in the centre of a back three, he can play direct forward passes by striking through the ball to target the wing-backs with cross-field passes. He has shown with many of these kinds of balls that he can produce accurate balls over long distances, too.

When he is the defender providing cover behind his partner, he shows good anticipation to quickly adjust his position and sniff out danger. If he is the last defender and there is little margin for error with his positioning and judgement as to when to engage his opponent, he is impressively decisive. On top of this, he has the acceleration to match fast opponents, and he uses his arms and upper-body strength cleverly to reduce the chances of them getting away from him.

His good anticipation also extends to his attempts to make interceptions and to his defending inside the penalty area. He is calm and measured, and is also willing to use his body to block shots and attack crosses when required.