According to Goal’s Neil Jones, Liverpool believe Naby Keita, who arrived from RB Leipzig for €60million, could be a game-changer from them this season.
The Guinean has had a tough time of things in the Premier League, with his body letting him down on a number of occasions but he looks like he’s at his strongest point since joining Liverpool.
Since February, Keita hasn’t had an injury which is his longest period uninjured for the Reds and now, with Fabinho barred by FIFA from playing against Leeds United and Harvey Elliott injured, he could start again for Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp believes he has the potential to be a ‘game-changer’, according to Neil Jones. He writes: “Despite being left out in favour of Harvey Elliott against Chelsea, he is being talked up by those inside Anfield as a potential game-changer, should he remain fit and healthy.”
As far as the last six months are concerned, Keita is no longer an injury concern and while I thought it was harsh to drop him against Chelsea, now is his chance to show Jurgen Klopp that he deserves a long-term run in the side.
If the 26-year-old is ever going to achieve anything memorable at Anfield, he has to be able to cement his place as a regular starter which is an unbelievably tough job when his competition is Thiago Alcantara.
Jordan Henderson as the skipper and Fabinho as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders are virtually undroppable. The final spot in Klopp’s midfield is there to be fought over by everyone else and it’s Keita’s bad luck that he has to go up against Thiago, an accomplished, experienced and world-class veteran.
However, if he can remain fit and as the weeks roll by, my confidence in his fitness increases, there’s no reason why Keita can’t play his way into that final midfield spot.
It’s not going to be easy and he’s going to be virtually perfect to do so but he offers the perfect counter-pressing option Klopp’s midfield that it seems unlikely he’ll remain a bench option the whole season.
At the very least, Keita fighting for a place in the starting XI should see Thiago’s performances go up to a level we haven’t yet seen at Liverpool which will be quite something because the Spaniard ended last season magnificently.