In May 2021 Liverpool triggered Ibrahima Konaté’s £36 million release clause with RB Leipzig, allowing the central defender to sign for the Reds on 1 July that year. Konaté is of Malian descent and grew up in Paris, joining Paris FC’s youth set up at the age of ten. He moved to Sochaux’s boarding academy when he was fifteen, making his debut in Ligue 2 as a seventeen-year-old in February 2017. After just twelve games for Sochaux, Bundesliga runners up RB Leipzig had seen enough and made their move. Sporting Director Ralf Rangnick believed they had unearthed a brilliant raw talent and he was offered a five-year deal.
Konaté made an instant impact in Germany, keeping club captain Willi Orban out of the side on occasions in his first season. He became a regular in 2018/19 and although he was troubled by ankle injuries in the following two seasons, his importance to the side when fit was clear. RB Leipzig were unbeaten in 28 successive games that he started as he made tackling, intercepting, bringing the ball forward look easy. Capped by France at all levels up to Under 21, Konaté bolsters Liverpool’s defensive options and faces a battle with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to become the preferred defensive partner to Virgil van Dijk.