Jurgen Klopp slams Didier Deschamps’ handling of Ibrahima Konate

Jurgen Klopp slammed Didier Deschamps for his handling of Ibrahima Konate as the 24-year-old Liverpool star struggles with fitness.

The international breaks are always a concern for big clubs and the players representing their countries. A team like Liverpool is full of players of top calibre, with most representing their nations for crunch games.

Physios of these sides are always taking regular updates on the fitness of their players, and now there appears to be a rift between Jurgen Klopp and his France counterpart Didier Deschamps.

During the recent international break, France did miss a few key defenders like William Saliba. The Arsenal man has not been a first-choice starter for France but often plays friendlies or secondary games for the national side.

His absence and that of some others forced Deschamps to choose from a small pool of defenders for this round of international fixtures. Among those was Ibrahima Konate, who played nearly two full games for the France national side.

Against the Netherlands, he played the full 90 while managing 87 minutes in the friendly against Scotland. He hasn’t returned in optimal shape, as Klopp was unable to select him for the Europa League game in mid-week, while not being able to last the entirety of the Merseyside Derby last weekend.

Klopp has now blamed Deschamps for his use of the 24-year-old Liverpool star, claiming Konate has had injury problems from time to time. The Reds boss’ comments appeared on Football Transfers as he indirectly blamed the French boss for the defender’s plight.

Klopp said, “He [Konate] 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 [against the Netherlands and Scotland], 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. But we are more than happy with Ibou, fantastic boy and a super player and France can be really happy to have him.”

Klopp’s words make total sense with regard to Deschamps’ usage of Konate. Playing him for a full game against the Netherlands made complete sense, but not so much in the friendly against Scotland. The latter was an unimportant game with no consequence whatsoever.

Deschamps could have easily used another player in place of the 24-year-old Liverpool star but decided against it. Decisions like these often have a detrimental effect on player fitness and could affect their season with injury and fitness concerns. Fans will certainly hope Konate is back fit for the weekend’s clash with Nottingham Forest.

Klopp considers Konate a key figure in his squad and would want the 24-year-old fit and firing during a crunch period. Liverpool are in the mix for a title challenge as things stand and would want to win the Europa League as well, but Klopp must look closely at player fitness, especially with a busy period approaching fast.

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