2021/22 make or break for two Liverpool stars

The 2021/22 Premier League season will be make or break for Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Liverpool are in the market for a midfielder to replace Gini Wijnaldum but many are forgetting that Jurgen Klopp still has Keita and Chamberlain at his disposal.

It’s not surprising though as both players have had serious struggles with injuries and this has been detrimental for their ability to make an impact.

UNSPECIFIED, AUSTRIA - JULY 12: Naby Keita of Liverpool during a training session on July 12, 2021 in UNSPECIFIED, Austria.
UNSPECIFIED, AUSTRIA – JULY 12: Naby Keita of Liverpool during a training session on July 12, 2021 in UNSPECIFIED, Austria. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Keita, in particular, has been marginalised due to his inability to remain fit while Chamberlain has been unlucky with a series of serious injuries.

The Guinean has the potential to be one of the best in the Premier League but he will need to remain fit as well as deliver consistently when he’s available.

If he can avoid injuries this season (a major ask) it is likely he can reach the heights he did with RB Leipzig as he has never struggled to perform when fit.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 26: Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Huddersfield Town at Anfield on April 26, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 26: Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Huddersfield Town at Anfield on April 26, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

His silky dribbling and ability to counter-press make him perfectly suited for Klopp’s midfield and if he can stay fit for at least 80% of the season, he will feel like a new signing.

Chamberlain will feel cursed as he has been regularly struck down by long-term injuries but like Keita, he has the ability to be a key player for Liverpool.

His performances for the Reds on their way to the 2017/18 Champions League final feel like a distant memory now but there’s no doubting he still has that ability.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 04: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on April 4, 2018 in Liverpool, England.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – APRIL 04: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on April 4, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

If he can avoid injury, he could be the perfect option off the bench in games where explosiveness and direct attacking are required.

If Keita and Chamberlain can prove their fitness to Klopp this summer, with Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago expected at pre-season late, they could start the new season in the starting XI when Norwich host the Reds on the opening day of the season.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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