Naby Keita was absolutely superb at Old Trafford on Sunday and rightly deserves to start the Reds’ upcoming games ahead of Jordan Henderson.
The Guinean was only on the pitch for eight minutes but achieved more than Henderson did in his 71-minute spell and fans are pushing for the former to start going forward.
Liverpool were noticeably more composed and penetrative once Keita took to the field and Jurgen Klopp will surely have taken notice.
Perhaps if the 24-year-old was fitter he would have started the game or come on at half time. If he had, it’s likely the Reds would have won the game.
— JC (@scoutedfc) October 20, 2019
Thought Naby Keita made a real difference for #LFC off the bench, by the way. Easier against tiring legs but he showed a composure around the Manchester United box that had been completely lacking all game. His change of pace in possession brought about the equaliser, too.
— David Lynch (@LynchStandard) October 20, 2019
Naby Keita was on the pitch for 13 minutes and completed 22/25 passes.
Definitely made a big difference.
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) October 20, 2019
Also in regards to the midfield dynamic, I think if Keita starts, we get to see the Netherlands Wijnaldum, if that's the blend we use in there. Naby frees up Wijnaldum, brings control, calms our instinctive frenzy, & plays with his head up.
If he can stay fit, he can be massive.
— Kevin (@emptyMINDZ) October 21, 2019
That period of pressure at the end was all Naby Keïta
Picks the ball up deep, carries it, plays a probing pass. Repeat.
Xavi & Iniesta were salivating over in Catalonia
— Raj Chohan (@rajsinghchohan) October 20, 2019
Henderson – 26 passes completed in 71 minutes
Keïta – 22 passes in 8 minutes
The mantra of picking the ball up deep, carrying it & playing a probing a pass or recycling is what Keïta has in abundance. His integration into the side is the next step in this LFC side’s evolution
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) October 20, 2019
Keita’s ability to control the tempo of a game by playing a few probing passes before making a final decisive stroke with the ball is something the Reds have been missing hugely in recent weeks.
It was most needed at Old Trafford and his introduction from the bench was instrumental in changing the game. It might have had something to do with United being tired from maintaining a high intensity but all the same, he needs to be played more often.
Hopefully, the £52.75million bombshell can stay fit and help his side win the Premier League.