Naby Keïta must start vs. Chelsea FC to guarantee the three points at Anfield

Liverpool need to start Naby Keïta alongside Curtis Jones and Gini Wijnaldum to maximise their chances of securing a win over Chelsea, writes Michael Mongie.

The Guinean was impeccable against the Blues last season in the Reds’ first game ever as Premier League champions. During a 5-3 goal-fest at Anfield soon after Project Restart kicked off, Keïta scored a wordle to remind the world what he’s capable of.

After picking up on a loose ball and speeding beyond Jorginho and Matteo Kovacic, Keïta unleashed a powerful shot that glanced off the crossbar and into the back of the net to open the scoring.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JULY 22: (THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Naby Keita of Liverpool scores the opening goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield on July 22, 2020 in Liverpool, England. PHOTO BY ANDREW POWELL/LIVERPOOL FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

It was the type of goal that Liverpool fans had expected of him before his £52.75million switch from RB Leipzig. Injuries have prevented the Reds from seeing more of his quality but now that he is fit again, Liverpool would be silly to leave him out.

Now, it seems a bit odd to suggest dropping Thiago Alcantara given his quality and believe me, nobody wants to see the Spaniard paired with Keïta more than me but with the former Bayern Munich star not at his best at the moment, he is the man to drop out.

You simply cannot drop Curtis Jones at the moment given the form he’s in with the Scouser showing he’s not just the future of Liverpool’s midfield but the present too. Wijnaldum is, at the moment, undroppable in the no.6 role.

So far this season, he’s got four goals and four assists which is a fantastic return for a 20-year-old in a Liverpool side that has struggled for consistency this term.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: Curtis Jones of Liverpool scores their side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Liverpool at Bramall Lane on February 28, 2021 in Sheffield, England. PHOTO BY LEE SMITH – POOL/GETTY IMAGES.

A win over Chelsea is a must given what’s at stake. Liverpool are just two points behind Thomas Tuchel’s men and a win would greatly increase their chances of finishing above them and inside the top four.

A defeat, however, could potentially condemn Jürgen Klopp’s team to a finish outside of the Champions League places for the first time since 2016 – the German’s first half-season at the club ended with an 8th place finish.

Predicted starting XI: Alisson, Robertson, Kabak, Philipps, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum, Keïta, Jones, Mane, Firmino, Salah.

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

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