“Liverpool rookie Ibrahima Konate looked comfortable with the pace and physique required in his first round of the Premier League; more: Ivan Toney shows Premier League quality but Norwich plays in the hands of Watford“
What a difference a season makes. Tough at the back and barely able to name the same defensive association twice last season, Liverpool was able to afford to put Joel Matip and Joe Gomez in shape in their 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, and debut Ibrahima Konate at the heart of your bottom line.
Without beating up January signings Ozan Kobak and Ben Davies, Konate is in a different conversation, as his £ 36 million price tag showed. He enjoyed some brilliant moments in his Anfield arc, and others where he will need to improve, but more importantly, he looked comfortable with the pace and physicality required in his first Premier League test.
Aside from his debut performance, his inclusion highlighted how things have changed for Jurgen Klopp since last season. Konate is his only major signing for the summer, but, without the horrible injury issues that plagued 2020/21, he was able to skip three of his four first-choice running backs, mostly using the game as a good opportunity to rotate and still supervise. a victory. which took the Reds three points clear at the top.
“You remember some games as fun, others as important. This is an important one,” he reflected after full time, understandably relieved that Liverpool finally got rid of the Palace threat with two goals in the final 12 minutes.
It wasn’t a brilliant performance, but to use the manager’s wise choice of words, certainly “close.” You don’t have the feeling that Liverpool could have made radical defensive changes last season and come out with this score, deserved or not. And that’s why moving to the top of the table so early in the season feels more sustainable than it showed this time last season.
Farke said after the game that he is fully aware that his team needs to improve defensively, but perhaps throwing Ozan Kabak straight into the starting eleven for his Norwich debut was not the best idea when there is a League Cup match against Liverpool on Tuesday, which seemed more complicated. right time to facilitate it.
There’s no question that Norwich has talented attacking players and good depth along the attack line, but Farke must be much more pragmatic if his team is to have any chance of surviving this season.