France to take Ibrahima Konate risk in Chile friendly

Liverpool's Ibrahima Konate is 'expected' to be in the starting lineup for France's friendly against Chile on Tuesday night, despite his recent injury issues.

The 24-year-old defender was called up by Didier Deschamps for Les Bleus' March internationals, despite missing the last three Liverpool matches through injury.

Konate was subbed off in the second half of the Reds' 5-1 Europa League win over Sparta Prague on 7 March with a muscular complaint and, despite Jurgen Klopp initially playing down the severity of the issue, was subsequently left out of the Premier League clash against Manchester City, the return leg against Prague and the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United.

His recent fitness issues did not stop Konate from being selected for international duty this month, however, and the defender was an unused sub on Saturday as France were defeated 2-0 by Germany in Lyon.

According to L'Equipe, Konate is 'expected' to be restored to the starting XI for Tuesday's game against Chile.

He could be paired with Arsenal's William Saliba as Les Bleus look to bounce back after a disappointing defeat against their neighbours.

Ibrahima Konate

Chelsea v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Final Ibrahima Konate of Liverpool celebrates with trophy after winning the Carabao Cup Final match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2024 in London, England. London Wembley Stadium England United Kingdom PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xNigelxFrench/Sportsphoto/APLx 13968972

On the one hand, the prediction of Konate's involvement from the start is a sign that his latest injury is behind him. However, the report is also likely to a cause of some concern at Liverpool, with Konate's fitness an issue that needs to be constantly managed.

The defender has already missed nine games this season through injury problems, while he has yet to manage 20 league games in a campaign for Liverpool since joining in the summer of 2021.

Klopp has previously taken issue with Deschamps' over-use of Konate, calling out the France boss last year for failing to rest his injury-prone defender.

Back in October, after resting his No. 5 for a Europa League clash with Toulouse, Klopp told French media: "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.

"I told Ibou, tell Monsieur Deschamps, that’s how you rest a player. Not just three minutes."

Following the international break, Klopp and Liverpool will hope to have Konate fit and available to play in the Premier League clash with Brighton on 31 March.

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