Konate learned 'harsh lessons' on Liverpool debut, says Klopp
Jurgen Klopp says Ibrahima Konate learned "harsh lessons" on his competitive debut for Liverpool against Crystal Palace.
Konate was made to wait for his first outing for the Reds, having initially been signed from RB Leipzig for £36 million ($54m) back in June.
The 22-year-old sat out Liverpool's opening four Premier League fixtures and a 3-2 Champions League win over AC Milan in midweek, but finally took his bow in a home fixture against Palace on Saturday.
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What's been said?
Konate slotted in at centre-half alongside Virgil van Dijk and helped Klopp's side record a clean sheet in a comfortable 3-0 victory, but did have a few shaky moments against the Eagles' formidable attacking unit.
Asked if the Frenchman was made to adapt to his system, the German head coach told reporters post-match: "Definitely and I think that is very important. We all saw what potential the boy has, it is incredible, physically, his technique, his game-understanding, it is all there.
"But when you are a young boy already skilled then you rely sometimes on those skills and the Premier League teaches you harsh lessons sometimes. Today against Palace was a good example, Wilf Zaha, Ayew, Edouard, these were proper strikers.
"Maybe it is not so nice when you play a completely new last line but together with Virg and Milly (James Milner, at right-back) it worked really well. Kostas Tsimikas played a superb game too.
"Konate is in a good way, I am really happy. But there is a lot more to come from Ibou, he is still young and yes he has to adapt, they have all had to adapt to the way we play and to the league as well because it is a special league."
Klopp on rotation
Konate's introduction was one of six changes Klopp made to the side that beat Milan, and the Liverpool boss has promised to continue tinkering with the starting XI as his side negotiate their way through a punishing domestic and European schedule.
“You want to line up the best possible team and there are different factors; one is who played together?” he said. "It was ‘rhythm or freshness?’ and we decided for freshness. Otherwise, we could have played one or another again, but we didn’t want that.
“I don’t know what it says exactly, but we had to do the changes, that was clear. We will rotate, we always rotated, but you see in the last line in the last years we couldn’t rotate really because there were always a maximum of two fit [centre-backs] very often – and the third one was already a midfielder.
“In midfield, hopefully we have the numbers to do it and we need that because this is the engine room of the team and we need to make the changes there. Up front, we have different opportunities as well, so that’s good. How often we do it, I didn’t make a plan already for the season, but as often as necessary and possible.”
Liverpool will now look ahead to a third-round Carabao Cup meeting with Norwich on Tuesday, before their focus switches back to the Premier League and a trip to newly-promoted Brentford on September 25.