The 11 times Van Dijk & Konate have started together & how Liverpool did

Since joining Liverpool from RB Leipzig last summer, Ibrahima Konate has begun to build an impressive central defense partnership with Virgil van Dijk.

Konate has to compete with Joel Matip for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s squad, but often impresses alongside Van Dijk when they are both named in the starting eleven.

We’ve taken a look at the 11 times they’ve started together to see how Liverpool fared in those games.

crystal Palace

After sitting on the bench for Liverpool’s first four Premier League games in 2021-22, Konate started alongside Van Dijk for their home game against Crystal Palace.

The duo kept a clean sheet and made no mistake as goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita gave Liverpool a 3-0 win at Anfield.

“You can see that he is incredibly talented,” said Jurgen Klopp when asked about Konate after the match. “The potential is outstanding. He is used to winning challenges easily. He is young and played a very good game. Massive. First home game for him.

“You want the team to watch the games and see what we do. We need to have experience of what we see. And he did very well. So much potential.”

manchester united

During Liverpool’s trip to Old Trafford, Van Dijk and Konate managed to control United’s attacking quartet of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.

Konate recorded a match-high eight clearances, and the center-back duo helped restrict Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to just four shots on target.

Liverpool’s attackers then did the rest with a Salah hat-trick and goals from Keita and Diogo Jota giving Klopp’s men a historic 5-0 victory.

“First of all, a huge compliment to Ibou,” Liverpool manager Pep Lijnders said on his official website. “It’s also a great compliment to our bottom line, I think, but especially to Ibou.

“Coming on against United is never easy, it shows the results of the last few years there and how we performed there.

“How he controlled together with [Andy] Robertson, Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and Virg, so I want to say a huge compliment to our bottom line, how he controlled these movements and this speed from an absolute top level.

“I said it last time, Ibou is a beast.”

Brighton

Liverpool took a two-goal lead against Brighton after Mane and Jordan Henderson found the back of the net inside the opening 24 minutes.

But Brighton came from a goal down just before half-time when Enock Mwepu made a brilliant finish to lift the ball over Allison from 25 meters.

the reds watched vulnerable at the back throughout the game and Leandro Trossard equalized in the 65th minute after an assist from former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana.

Southampton

Despite a poor performance against Porto in the Champions League, Konate kept his place in the starting lineup against Southampton.

A brace from Jota and a deflected shot from Thiago gave Liverpool a comfortable half-time lead before Van Dijk scored against his former club to make it 4-0.

Konate was not at his best during the win, but he helped preserve Liverpool’s clean sheet by making a goal-saving block to deny Adam Armstrong from close range.

chelsea

Liverpool looked set for a comfortable win over Chelsea after Mane and Salah found the back of the net inside the opening 30 minutes.

But Mateo Kovacic put Chelsea back in the game with a spectacular volley before Christian Pulisic made it 2-2 in first-half injury time.

While no one was able to stop Kovacic’s goal, Van Dijk was criticized for the way he defended Pulisic’s equalizing goal at Stamford Bridge.

“They have an obsession, the Liverpool centre-backs, you see a lot in that they always stay in line with each other,” said Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports.

“They never cover up, there is an obsession with playing offside. We notice that throughout the game, the space between the two center backs is too big.

“Initially, his starting position, Van Dijk, because he’s not intense enough to get past him, he doesn’t want to cover his other centre-back.”

Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury took an upset lead against Liverpool in the FA Cup third round tie when Konate failed to intercept a cross and Daniel Udoh fired on goal.

But their lead did not last long as Kaide Gordon equalized with a serene strike before Fabinho put Liverpool 2-1 up with a penalty.

During the second half, a cheeky move from Roberto Firmino and a second goal from Fabinho sealed their place in the fourth round.

“He [Konate] he played some of the first games for us and I think we all agree that he is an exceptional talent, physically outstanding and also a good footballer,” Klopp said.

“But when you’re that skilled, that fast, that strong, it’s quite normal, especially when you’re young, that your level of concentration drops from time to time.”

Cardiff

After the win over Shrewsbury, Van Dijk and Konate started together again in the FA Cup fourth round tie against Cardiff City.

With the score tied 0-0, Cardiff they were controversially denied a penalty after Konate appeared to foul Mark Harris in the Liverpool box.

Jota, Takumi Minamino and Harvey Elliott scored for Liverpool in the second half before Rubin Colwill scored a late consolation for the Championship team.

Inter de Milan

Although Firmino and Salah scored late goals to give Liverpool a 2-0 win over Inter in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie, it was the defenders who stole the show.

Van Dijk picked up a well-deserved Man of the Match award after shutting down Lautaro Martínez’s threat and winning five aerial duels at the San Siro.

Konate also produced one of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt, winning four duels from the field and making more interceptions (4) than any other player.

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western ham

After Joel Matip was ruled out of the West Ham game due to illness, Konate teamed up with Van Dijk and made only his second Premier League appearance of 2022.

The center-back duo managed to keep Michail Antonio relatively quiet at Anfield and Sadio Mane’s first-half goal gave Liverpool a hard-fought 1-0 victory.

nottingham forest

Van Dijk was rested for the FA Cup fifth round victory over Norwich City, but started alongside Konate in the quarter-final against Forest.

The match looked to be going into extra time until Jota’s 78th-minute goal gave Liverpool a place in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Forest only took one shot on goal during the cup tie and Van Dijk and Konate have now kept six clean sheets when playing together.

Benfica

Konate had a very mixed match against Benfica, scoring the opening goal in the 17th minute before making a mistake that led to Darwin Núñez’s goal.

Mane and Luis Diaz also scored at the Estadio da Luz to give Klopp’s men a 3-1 win in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Overall, Liverpool have won nine and drawn two of the 11 games Van Dijk and Konate have started, conceding just seven goals.


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