The last two occasions that Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Keita started together, Liverpool were beaten 7-2 by Aston Villa and 3-1 by Real Madrid.
On paper, a midfield three of Fabinho, Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita should work.
You’ve got steel, energy and skill. What you’re missing is leadership and synchronicity and these are both crucial to winning football games – especially at the highest level.
Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro form of the best midfield trios Europe has ever seen and it’s not due to their individual talents but how each of their skillsets complements each other.
Each of the last two occasions that Keita, Wijnaldum and Fabinho have started together in midfield has resulted in defeat. The 7-2 disaster at Aston Villa and the 3-1 shocker at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium in Madrid.
While Jordan Henderson is yet to be declared fit, the midfielder would fix most of the issues in central midfield that Jurgen Klopp is battling with. His leadership and relentless demand for improvement would have seen a much better display against Madrid but he’s unlikely to feature even in the return at Anfield.
One thing is sure: Keita, Fabinho and Wijnaldum cannot and most likely will not start together when Zinedine Zidane’s side travels to England. Keita is the one that will probably drop out with Thiago Alcantara to replace him.
Whatever it was that Klopp was trying to accomplish by starting Keita, it failed miserably and it’s unlikely it will be repeated.
It’s unfortunate that the Guinean was hooked before half time as that could damage his confidence but he needs to bounce back if there’s any chance for him to build on his poor start at Liverpool and become a success in the famous no.8.