‘Can’t rely on youth’ – Ibrahima Konate breaks ranks in plea to Liverpool board after ‘screwing up’

Will Ford
Liverpool degender Konate

Ibrahima Konate has pleaded with the Liverpool board to make new signings this summer as the defender insisted they “can’t rely on youth” after “screwing up” last season.

The Reds have lost Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner as free agents this summer and although Alexis Mac Allister has already joined from Brighton, Liverpool are in the market for a number of further acquisitions to rebuild after a disappointing 2022/23 campaign saw them miss out on the Champions League.

While on international duty for France, Konate told RMC that Liverpool have no choice but to make a number of additions if they want to compete next season.

“We have to replace them,” the central defender exclaimed. “If not, what do we do? Do we play with an understaffed squad lacking in quality? You can’t rely on youth at this level. I’m sure the boss and the recruitment team know we need new players.”

“We had a rough start to the season,” added Konate. “We said to ourselves that the Champions League was the goal, and I think we won like ten games from our last 11 matches [the Reds actually won seven from nine].”

Summing up the disappointing campaign, Konate said: “It’s down to us players, we screwed up.”

One player linked with a move to Anfield this summer is Nice midfielder Kephren Thuram and Konate said he would be delighted to take the 22-year-old, who he described as his “little brother”, under his wing next season.

“I would be very happy for him [Thuram] to come to Liverpool and I would take him under my wing and I would do everything for him to progress and become the player he wants to become,” Konate said.

He added: “Khephren is like my little brother, he’s someone I saw growing up. I was with his big brother in the training centre, but I saw him grow. I saw him perform and progress at a level… It was incredible.

“Even when he came to the France team for his first selection. I saw him at the training and I was really surprised by his size and his technical ease.

“When I was in Leipzig and I signed for Liverpool, many people said that it was too early, that it was not the right choice.

“In the end, I proved all these people wrong so you shouldn’t listen to people. If Khephren has the opportunity to come to a club like Liverpool, I think he will be surprised by the enthusiasm that will come behind him.

“It’s up to him to work. He’s still very young but he has an incredible margin for improvement so I’m confident.”

READ MORE: Liverpool 18th? Ranking the early summer mood at all 20 Premier League clubs