• Analysis

Liverpool need Naby Keita to stand up

Naby keita Liverpool Jurgen Klopp Fabinho
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With the festive season approaching, Jurgen Klopp will need the services of Keita if Liverpool are to maintain their title challenge.

Fresh from their UEFA Champions League triumph, the Reds have not looked back. Manchester City would have expected competition from Liverpool but not in this fashion. They are top of English Premier League points table, with a 14 point advantage over the reigning champions.

They are unbeaten in English top flight campaign, and have only suffered a single defeat all season. And only a super defensive Manchester United managed to take points off them in league action.

Liverpool are firing on all cylinders but fatigue is catching up with them. And so are injuries. They lost Fabinho to the medical room and need players to stand up. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana but they have struggled to impress.

Keita to the rescue?

It is in Naby Keita that the Reds have a solution to their midfield woes. The former RB Leipzig star has been marred with injuries and is finding his way back into Klopp’s plans. And against Bournemouth he gave a good account of his abilities.

In the all round performance, he got on the score sheet from one of this three shots on target, created three chances, gave an assist and completed 89 out of the 94 passes he attempted.

Rave reviews came after the impressive away win, and Klopp was not stranger.

“Naby had injuries, the team is in really good shape, so then do you change?,” Klopp said.

“We are not flying, it’s not like we won all of the games 4-0, or 5-0, so we had to bring on a player who helps us with defending set-pieces. Then Naby is sitting outside thinking, ‘why don’t I play?’ I get all that. So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it.”

“But in the end, of course, a player needs to have this evidence that the manager still believes in you. I was never in doubt about that.”

“It was just unlucky and in life you need luck always. He started (his Liverpool career) really well – everybody forgot that – then got injured. And again we had two really good seasons. (I was) never in doubt about his quality,” Klopp concluded.

Cannot be a 60 million Euro flop

Klopp would want Keita to take greater responsibility and rise to the occasion. The 60 million Euro signing has time running out for him at Anfield.

His poor performances for the Reds were overlooked in their title challenge and Champions League triumph. But he will come under greater scrutiny this year.

Liverpool are top of the league and have Keita in command while Fabinho is away. A slip during the festive period where they are traveling across England and the globe for the Club World Championship, he needs to stand up and make his mark.