December — except in the year when the World Cup was held in the middle of the European season — is usually hectic. This time, Liverpool's festive fixtures are fairly well spread out compared to what it can be like some years, but there are still eight fixtures including Manchester United and Arsenal this month, with Newcastle to come on January 1.

In short, it is the worst possible time for an injury crisis. Liverpool is not quite at that point just yet (though other clubs like Newcastle and Spurs are), but Jürgen Klopp is set to be missing his main goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, for at least another three games. That is a blow.

Diogo Jota will be out longer, though exactly how long remains to be seen, Andy Robertson, Thiago Alcântara and Stefan Bajčetić are all long-term absentees, and Joël Matip joined the treatment list on Sunday when he picked up a knee issue against Fulham. Absolutely none of that is ideal.

READ MORE: Diogo Jota injury boost, January transfer agreed - Rest of 2023 in ideal Liverpool scenario

READ MORE: Liverpool has big Man City chance in next five games as Steven Gerrard forced to apologize

The injuries will leave Liverpool short, to some degree, even if the Reds have a much bigger squad than most. And that means that Liverpool will run the risk of picking up more problems as the games begin to mount. More physical pressure will be placed on those who are fit and forced to play more, which could lead to issues for them too.

Among those who will need to step up is Ibrahima Konaté. Ousted from the starting XI for the big games by Matip until the Cameroonian's injury forced him off a couple of days ago, the former RB Leipzig man will now need to remain fit — not something he has always proved to be adept at.

With Matip missing, that is one fewer center-back option from which Klopp can select. And while Konaté and Joe Gomez are good players, neither should be playing too much, in order to avoid injuries.

Virgil van Dijk is also someone who needs to be managed and while the lack of Champions League matches this season has meant less workload for him at this stage of the campaign than would normally be the case, Liverpool needs to be careful there as well. An absence for him would be an even bigger worry than anyone currently sidelined.

Sign up for our EXCLUSIVE newsletter!

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love our newsletter — once a week, we send exclusive, bonus content only to people signed up to our mailing list!

Our newsletter subscribers get an extra slice of from one of the best Liverpool FC writers around — straight to your inbox, and completely for free.

Wherever you are in the world — in the US, the UK or further afield — you don't want to miss out.

Sign up to the newsletter here — it only takes a few seconds!

There is no reason that Konaté cannot step up while Matip is out, as long as he can stay fit. In fact, with so many matches coming in which the Frenchman will be needed — some of which will have to be minus Van Dijk, as the Dutchman cannot play every minute — it will be a chance for the 24-year-old to showcase some leadership skills.

Konaté has a ceiling high enough that he could one day be the man to take over at the heart of the Liverpool defense as the leader of the Reds backline. It will be Van Dijk for a long time yet, Liverpool will hope, but in the meantime, that is the next logical progression for Konaté to make.

Part of making that pitch for being a player to build around for the future will also be that he can stay fit and play a large enough volume of games in a short space of time. That, again, is a box that Konaté needs to prove he can tick.

Across the next few weeks, Konaté will have the opportunity to prove himself on both leadership and availability fronts. The extent to which he is successful could be critical for how the second half of Liverpool's season pans out.