Ibrahima Konate's France situation threatens to reignite Jurgen Klopp issue

Liverpool's Ibrahima Konate is fit to take part in France's international friendlies this month, according to manager Didier Deschamps.

Konate suffered a muscle injury during Liverpool's 5-1 last 16 first-leg Europa League win over Sparta Prague on 7 March and, while Jurgen Klopp initially played down the severity of the problem, the 24-year-old was subsequently left out of the next three games, including Sunday's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

Despite being sidelined at club level, Konate was still called up for national team duty with France, with Les Bleus set to play friendlies against Germany (Saturday 23 March) and Chile (Tuesday 26 March) during the break.

Konate's inclusion in Deschamps' squad is a cause for concern considering his delicate fitness situation.

It was reported that the defender would be assessed by national team medical staff to determine whether he had recovered well enough to participate in the upcoming matches, and it seems as though he has now been given the all-clear.

Speaking in a press conference on Monday, Deschamps told reporters that he had "no worries" over Konate's fitness.

Konate has since been pictured in training alongside his France teammates in preparation for Saturday's game against Germany in Lyon.

Liverpool fans will be praying that Konate comes back unscathed from the international break and ready to resume his club role ahead of the business end of the season.

The club-vs-country situation this March threatens to reignite bad blood between Klopp and Deschamps.

 

Needing a rest

Back in October of last year, the Reds boss called out the World Cup-winning coach for not giving Konate a rest amid similar fitness concerns.

Speaking to French media after the Europa League group-stage clash with Toulouse, Klopp said: “He did not start tonight. He’s not even in the squad. I love absolutely everything about Ibou, but the problem is that Ibou has injury problems from time to time, and Monsieur Deschamps played him 90 and 87 minutes in the two games so we’ve used this time now to give him a little rest. He could have played tonight of course but he has to play on Sunday again.”

He added: “I told Ibou, tell Monsieur Deschamps, that’s how you rest a player. Not just three minutes. But we are more than happy with Ibou. [He is a] fantastic boy and a super player and France can be really happy to have him.”

Konate has missed nine games with injury issues so far this season. He is one of 17 Liverpool players called up for their countries this March.

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