LONDON, May 28 (Xinhua) — Liverpool has signed French defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig with a long-term contract, confirmed the English Premier League club on Friday.

Konate, 22, will officially start his career at Anfield from July 1 after four seasons with the Bundesliga side Leipzig with 95 appearances and four goals.

“I’m really happy to be joining such a massive club like Liverpool,” the center-back told the Reds website. “It’s a really exciting moment for me and my family and I am really looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and getting started on this new chapter.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was really pleased that Konate could join his team, whom he has admired for a long time.

“After the problems we had with injuries in the center-half position last season, there’s no doubt it was clear it was an area of the team we needed to strengthen,” said the German.

Liverpool struggled last season as center-backs Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip were absent for a long time due to injuries. They were far away from their top-quality to defend the Premier League title but managed to secure a Champions League berth for next season after concluding the season with a five-match winning streak.

“I am confident we are signing a player who can play for us right away, but he is a boy of 22 years of age who has room to improve because of his massive potential. I know that’s something he is eager to work on with us to become an even better player,” said Klopp.

Dutch star Van Dijk has been missing from the Reds squad since last October after suffering an injury in his right knee.

The 29-year-old defender has decided not to represent the Netherlands at this summer’s Euro 2020 but is expected to begin pre-season training with his Liverpool teammates ahead of the 2021-22 season.