Heading into the 2021/22 season, Liverpool have been linked with a somewhat lengthy list of defensive recruits.
Nevertheless, the most prominent names have been Ibrahima Konate – whom The Athletic suggest that Jurgen Klopp is edging towards signing – and Kalidou Koulibaly. Il Mattino report that Liverpool could look to sign the Napoli man with his asking price having dropped.
It is the latter that Michael Edwards should be pushing to sign more.
Comparing the two players’ statistics this season, Koulibaly comes out on top most often.
According to WhoScored, the Senegalese centre-back has averaged 1.2 tackles per game, whilst Konate is contributing just 0.4 for RB Leipzig.
The Napoli man is also victorious in regards to interceptions – one to 0.7 – and blocks – 0.9 to 0.1.
Whilst Koulibaly does concede more fouls per match, this cynical edge is not always a bad feature and instead could be used to great effect at key moments of a match.
Away from the players’ defensive statistics, Koulibaly edges out Konate with his comfort on the ball. The 29-year-old averages more accurate passes per game, whilst also being extremely effective from long balls, completing 4.1 per game to Konate’s paltry 0.9.
Despite Koulibaly looking like the overwhelming candidate for the centre-back berth at Anfield, there are however few positives for Konate. The younger player at just 21, the Frenchman would also be cheaper. He is rated at £31.5m, whilst the Napoli man holds a £45m valuation.
Within that though, Liverpool would be purchasing plenty of experience with Koulibaly. He has made 277 appearances for Napoli and also taken to the pitch on 75 separate occasions within European competition compared to Konate’s 21.
So, whilst Koulibaly would certainly be the costlier purchase, the Reds would almost definitely be buying a higher quality player.
He conveniently already has a glowing reference from ex-Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, who labelled his former teammate as “extraordinary”.
If choosing between the two then, Liverpool have to plump for Koulibaly instead of Konate.