Joel Matip repeated the advice of Andy Robertson and Pepijn Lijnders when Ibrahima Konate is settling in “really well” in Liverpool and predicting a “good connection”.
It’s now been over four months since Konate joined the Reds from RB Leipzig, but the £ 36million summer signing has only made two appearances so far.
The Frenchman started alongside Virgil van Dijk in a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace before being assisted by Joe Gomez for the League Cup win with the same result in Norwich.
Matip was preferred to Van Dijk as the partner of choice, and rightly so, as they were in impressive form together in the first few months of the season.
However, Konate is expected to take on a more regular role in the starting XI, with the 22-year-old predestined to be the long-term successor to Van Dijk and Matip or both.
It’s no surprise that Jürgen Klopp is cautious about joining the team, considering how long it took for Robertson and Fabinho to adjust.
And talk to that Liverpool FC Magazine, Matip echoed that sentiment, despite pointing out that Konate “is already doing really well”.
“Ibou has settled in really well,” said No. 32.
“It always takes a while to get used to the general and the defense in order to get a good connection. It takes time before I know how he will react and he knows how I will react.
“We trained a lot together and it will always take some time next to a new player, but he’s already going really well.”
Konate is in a fortunate position as he joins an already successful Liverpool squad where it is easier to settle in a winning environment than one that is still developing.
“Robbo told him, ‘We all need time to adapt to our style,'” Klopp’s assistant explained last month.
“Virgil was probably one of the only ones who got in [immediately]but he still had to adapt.
“He adapted with instant games. He started playing and over time he adapted to our style – in an incredible way, like he was one of the big missing pieces of the puzzle.
“So Robbo explains, and that’s how they take care of him.
“He’s settled in well, he’s a beast physically, he can catch so many players, he’s strong in the air, has a really good build-up, and is so strong on the offensive.
“But he’s still so young so it’s great to see him make his debut, get it out of the way and move on.”