Ibrahima Konate ‘had the whole of Anfield’ rocking during Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Arsenal on Sunday, according to BBC Sport pundit Natasha Dowie.
Despite the home side giving up two soft goals during the first half-hour, the Frenchman was largely a colossal presence at the back.
Although he spurned a gilt-edged chance to grab a last-gasp winner for the Reds, his close-range effort being clawed out by Aaron Ramsdale, the 23-year-old endeared himself to the Merseyside faithful with one crunching but fair challenge on Granit Xhaka.
Konate’s performance drew glowing praise from Liverpool striker Dowie, who said on BBC’s Football Daily podcast: “Going back to the crowd situation, the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
“Every time Konate stepped in and won a big tackle, the whole of Anfield were up on their feet. You could see the players reacting off of that, and it was almost just like attack after attack after attack.”
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The goalscoring acclaim went to Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino, but the French defender put in a monumental shift throughout the 90 minutes yesterday.
As per Sofascore, he won five tackles and eight of his 10 duels against Arsenal – the most of any Liverpool player for both metrics – while also making three interceptions as he continually proved a tough nut for the Gunners to crack.
His challenge on Xhaka illustrated plenty of what Konate’s all about – uncompromising and determined, but also sufficiently cool-headed so as not to discommode his team.
It was no coincidence that the Reds’ comeback went hand in hand with the Anfield faithful raising the volume and being consistently loud thereafter, and the 23-year-old’s dominant display had a big part to play in that.
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