"He’s gotten better and better and better" - Mark Lawrenson opens up on who he thinks will partner Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk in Champions League final against Real Madrid

Only ten days left for the big game.
Only ten days left for the big game.
Sachin Bhat

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has explained who between Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate should start the UEFA Champions League final. The Reds play Real Madrid in a rematch of their 2018 clash at Saint-Denis in Paris on May 28, with a seventh title in sight.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp will have a big decision to make in defence over who should partner Virgil van Dijk in the all-important game. Lawrenson believes it could be Konate, stressing that there isn't much difference between him and Matip. Speaking to 'Off The Ball' (via Liverpool Echo), he said:

“Well, you see I’m Matip, but it looks like Konate. Konate starts in the cup games, and he seems to play in Europe, and he’s gotten better and better and better.

He continued:

“My thing with Matip is that he gives you a bit extra; he gives you everything Konate gives you, but he’ll come out with the ball and engage midfield players, certainly Madrid’s midfield players; that’s the thing, but there’s not a big difference between the two of them.”

Konate has impressed since joining from RB Leipzig last summer but has gotten better lately after finding regular game time. He scored in the FA Cup semifinal against Manchester City and the Champions League last-four clash against Villarreal.

Ibrahima Konaté has played 27 games for Liverpool.He’s lost zero 😎

The Frenchman is a huge threat from set-pieces with his heading ability and has proved to be reliable in defence too. Matip, meanwhile, is also a solid centre-back, and his ability to storm through the middle with glorious runs is a sight to behold.

Last night, both started together in the Reds' 2-1 Premier League win over Southampton, proving why both are worthy of a starting place in the Champions League final.

Liverpool extend title race to final day, but Manchester City still in control

With their victory over Southampton, Liverpool moved to within a point of leaders Manchester City. It all boils down to the final matchday of the Premier League season on Sunday, May 22.

FT: Southampton 1-2 LiverpoolMan City - 90 ptsLiverpool - 89 ptsMan City v Aston Villa & Liverpool v WolvesBring on Sunday! 💪

However, the holders still have the advantage. The Reds will need to beat relegation-threatened Everton and hope City drop points against Aston Villa at home to climb into first place and clinch the title.

That is highly unlikely to happen, as the Villans are pretty much the David to City's Goliath and don't seem to have the quality to halt Pep Guardiola's juggernaut.

Edited by Bhargav


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