On the day of Naby Keïta’s Liverpool debut, The Anfield Talk’s Robin (@robbiemac72) takes a look at the midfielder…
Naby Keïta? Last Summer in 2017 I’d never heard of him till all this noise came out of the German Bundesliga about a young starlet playing for RP Leipzig who was being courted by Liverpool.
The 23 year old Guinean is now officially a Liverpool player finally almost a year on after an agreement was made with RP Leipzig to acquire the talents of Naby Keïta. The fee for the player is £52.75 million. He will wear the fabled Number 8 Shirt, previous owners include Steven Gerrard, Stan Collymore and Emile Heskey.
When asked why he chose Liverpool, Keita said to the club’s official website: “When you see how they performed last season it makes me want to do the same and to be a part of this team.”
It also seems that Sadio Mane whom was a teammate of Keïta at Salzburg was instrumental in selling the club to Keïta before his own departure for Southampton. “He helped me with everything – the language, making friends, understanding the club and the city,” explained Keita, who is three years Mane’s junior. “Sadio was important for me, he still is! To me, he’s my big brother.”
“I would like to be able to achieve a similar kind of season with them (Liverpool) next season – but even better.”
The player has already delighted Liverpool fans by putting up an old photo of himself on Instagram wearing a Liverpool shirt from his childhood.
Keïta is described as a dynamic, central midfielder who’ll run at opposition and score goals. At the age of 23 having already notched up 28 caps and 5 goals for his national team, Guinea he has lit up the Bundesliga. With a current career total of 156 games played with 37 goals scored already in a short four seasons as a professional footballer he’s definitely on fire. Will he light up Anfield? Will he fit right in with the team? Klopp is getting him at the right time when he can mould the player into his style of football and he’s still learning and will learn from one of the best managers in the game.
Hasenhüttl, the RP Leipzig Manager has described him as “an exceptionally gifted footballer that has an unbelievable elegance on the ball.” In 31 Bundesliga appearances in 2016/17, he either scored or assisted a goal 15 times. Making 80 tackles and 81 interceptions. Having won the Bundesliga league and domestic cup double twice, not once but twice with Red Bull Stalzburg in 2014/15 and 2015/16, before joining RP Leipzig he already boasts impressive statistics. Liverpool agreed to sign the Guinea midfielder for a fee of £52.75 million in August 2017 but the deal meant Keïta playing one final season with the RP Leipzig.
The central midfielder is an important player that has superior technical abilities in terms of passing and dribbling, as well as the ability to read the opposing defence in order to deliver defence-splitting passes to the striker. Are we expecting too much from a 23 year-old? Can he adapt to the pace of the Premier league?
Danny Murphy writing for the Liverpool Echo has a dim view on the Liverpool prospect dismissing him as saying, “he isn’t creative enough if you want to challenge for the title and the Champions League.” Good man Danny you’ve earned your few shillings for your input on Keïta but you’re not the Manager. Danny Murphy may not be so sure on Keïta from what he’s seen but we haven’t seen much ourselves and we are taking a risk it’s one I’m glad the club are taking and not standing back and twiddling our thumbs we’re getting on with it and splashing the cash. Klopp is rapidly bring in quality players since he took over and I don’t hear many fans moaning about this apart from a selected few ‘experts’. We forgive you Danny you shall be converted well I hope we all will be. He won’t walk straight into the team with other newly revealed signing, 24 year old Brazilian, defensive midfielder, Fabinho , Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson and James Miliner already our midfield options. The current Liverpool midfielders may have to keep the bench warm every now and then as I expect Klopp to rotate his team along with the new £52.75million arrival.
On Twitter Liverpool fans response has been mainly positive as @BenWebbLFC said, “We’ve gone from buying: Danny Wilson, Joe Allen, Rickie Lambert, Fabio Borini and Christian Benteke – to Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Oxlade-Chamberlain. That’s progression. Sweet, sweet progression.”