Virgil van Dijk on what Ibrahima Konate must do to become world's best defender

Virgil van Dijk believes Ibrahima Konate has all the qualities to become one of the best defenders in world football after the Frenchman's outstanding display in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal.

Konate started the game poorly after losing Gabriel Magalhaes inside the penalty area for the opening goal of the game, but he recovered very well to keep the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus at bay.

Speaking ahead of the Premier League clash against Burnley, Van Dijk says all Konate has to do is to look after his body well and get used to playing top-level football once every three days to become one of the finest players in his position.

He said (quotes via Liverpool Echo): "He’s still growing. He’s an outstanding defender. He has everything that a modern-day footballer needs to be at the absolute top of centre-backs. There’s a lot of demands from us. We play with the ball, keep a high line, you need the pace and deal lots of space to defend in behind. He needs pace and heading as well. He’s doing it well.

"It’s about getting used to playing every three days, looking after your body, managing games and training sessions, and when to do certain things. He is learning. I speak a lot with him about certain things because it’s my duty to share experiences with him. He’s still learning and he can be even better than he is. The same goes with Jarell Quansah.

The Liverpool captain believes the likes of Konate and Jarell Quansah are better than he was at that age but admitted that it's all about making it count in the long run. He added: "I just look to share my experiences. I’ve been in the game for quite a while now and have been quite successful. I try to give that to the young players.

"These players at this age are even better than I was. But obviously, it’s about doing it in the long run. I’m pleased with how he is now but he can be even better, he can progress. It’s nice to see the progression and development, it’s also nice to see that they listen and are willing to listen and learn. Let’s see what it brings."

Van Dijk has missed just two Premier League games for Liverpool this season and has seemingly returned to his best after what was an underwhelming 2022-23 campaign by his lofty standards.

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