Guinean Midfielder Naby Keita Will Come Good At Liverpool

Naby Keita’s signing was much heralded, when it was first announced by Liverpool on their own website, in 2017, that they’d done a deal with RB Leipzig to bring in the midfielder for the 2018/19 season.

After a bright start, the Guinean international has since struggled to hold down a place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line up.

Last season’s midfield trio of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum have proven a tough act to dislodge at the moment.

Fellow newcomers Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho have also struggled for starts but they both give The Reds different midfield options. Swiss star Shaqiri gives them an attacking threat and creative outlet, while former AS Monaco man Fabinho adds height and strong defensive attributes to the engine room.

Naby still seems to be a player looking to find his calling in this current Liverpool team and fit into their playing style.

The twenty-three year old hasn’t been the dynamic force he was in the Bundesliga. Last term; he scored six goals and made five assists in twenty-three starts. The midfielder enjoyed a passing success rate of 81.4% and would on average make 2.4 tackles per league outing.

According to Whoscored, most of those stats have suffered with his move to Anfield. The Guinean has actually improved his passing success rate to an impressive 87% but he’s not as eager in the tackle, nor is he making the same amount of key passes or taking as many shots at goal.

Now a big issue has been his role at Liverpool. At Leipzig, Keita played as a box-to-box central midfielder. While in Merseyside Naby has often found himself playing on the left, usually in a midfield three.

With Sadio Mane playing ahead of him and Andrew Robertson continuously pushing forward on the left flank, it’s left the midfielder slightly confused by his role in the team. He’ll either push out onto the wing, if Mane goes inside, or he will hold himself back if he notices a Scots full-back rampage beyond him on the lefthand side.

The confusion in Keita’s play has seen Klopp take him out of the team. Naby has started eight Premier League games out of a possible twenty-one, he’s also made a further six appearances from the bench. Although it should be noted that he also picked up a muscular problem while away on international duty and that injury has impacted on his start to life in the English top flight.

People might question the big summer signing and others might be underwhelmed by his performances thus far but the midfielder has shown promise.

In early December, Keita played the full ninety minutes in The Reds away win over Burnley and he helped boss the game. Interestingly in that fixture the player played as a central midfielder in a midfield four. He had the most shots of anyone on the park and made the most amount of tackles out of any player in a Liverpool shirt.

The former Leipzig man is also still very efficient with the ball and isn’t scared to have it in his possession or move it on to a teammate better placed.

Ultimately though I believe the player just needs time to adapt to his new surroundings. Klopp constantly takes new recruits out of his team as he prepares them for life as a Liverpool stalwart. It’s worked magnificently well with Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the past. It also seems to be working wonders with Shaqiri and Fabinho, who are both now pushing for regular starts in the first eleven.

The Reds manager is a huge fan of Naby Keita’s, that’s why he waited a full year to sign the impressive midfield star.

The German coach told that the player is still a great talent and that he’s just settling into life as a Liverpool player:

“With Naby, and I spoke to him, everything is fine and I am completely happy. Could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes. Is he exactly the player [he was] in his best time at Leipzig? No, but he’s still adapting, that’s how it is. But everybody saw it how brilliant he played in the first part [of the season]. Tottenham was a fantastic game of him without thinking too much, and then we made a change I think around the PSG game and the boys have to deal with it. Then a little injury here, a little injury there and it was kind of a little setback.”

But he is a fantastic player and I’m really happy to have him here. It’s so good and I am really looking forward to our common future because see if you see it every day, wow, there is so much to come and so much influence he can have on each game”

I think the Liverpool faithful trust Jurgen Klopp fully and I think they’ll believe that Naby Keita will come good.

If the international midfielder can rediscover his dynamic, industrious best for the title run-in then the Merseyside giants could have another big game player on their hands and that might take them closer to their first Premier League triumph!

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