Jurgen Klopp is set to ring the changes in the wake of a ban from FIFA and he should not hesitate to restore Naby Keita to the starting XI.
FIFA’s ban will have a massive impact on who Klopp decides to pick in his team but as things stand, he is unable to call on Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino although injury ruled out the forward anyway.
Liverpool need to return to winning ways against Leeds and so Klopp needs to get his team selection absolutely spot on and after I wrote that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave him the blueprint to victory on the opening day, I think Keita has to start.
If the Reds are going to press high up the pitch and box Leeds inside their own half, Keita is a must-have as his awareness and counter-pressing can only be matched by the injured Firmino.
Thiago is a lot of things but his rash tackling can often give teams a way out of the press by buying a cheap foul as the Spaniard is more than willing to dive into tackles when it’s better to jockey and harry the player into playing a backwards pass instead.
That said, Klopp might need to start both if Fabinho is unavailable.
Klopp told Liverpool’s website that Naby is alright despite his hectic week and with that in mind he should start.
“Naby is fine,” said the boss. “Yesterday he was not here [at the AXA Training Centre] but he was in Liverpool again. I will have a chat with him today, but from what I know from all the calls and talks we had, he’s fine.”
This season is all about redemption for Keita and ever since he joined Liverpool for £52million, he has struggled with injuries but now, with an injury-free streak since February, this is his best chance to prove to Klopp and FSG that he should stay at the club long term.
4-3-3: Kelleher, Robertson, van Dik, Matip, Trent, Henderson, Keita, Thiago, Mane, Jota, Salah.