Red Bull Leipzig’s Naby Keita is our primary target for central midfield ahead of next season.
That much is pretty certain. The 22-year-old has shone in the Bundesliga for the unexpected Champions League qualifiers, scoring a very impressive eight goals, despite playing predominantly in defensive midfield.
His energy, dynamism and creativity would be a welcome boost to our spine, but signing him will be very tricky – as Tony Barrett in Joe.co.uk indicates…
The respected Liverpool correspondent penned an article today regarding Coutinho’s future at Liverpool and that the Brazilian could play as a no.8, as he did against West Ham on Sunday…
But he supplements this by saying Coutinho will likely stay in the front-three if Keita arrives, with the Guinean playing a box-to-box role in 2017/18:
“Ideally, Red Bull Leipzig’s Naby Keita would operate as a number eight in the team that Klopp hopes to be able to put together for next season and should he sign, something that remains an ambition rather than a foregone conclusion at this stage, Coutinho would continue to play regularly in a fluid front three.”
This is interesting to us, as Keita has actually primarily been used at the base of of RB Leipzig’s 4-2-2-2 formation this term, although his goals and assists record does suggest he has plenty to offer going forward.
With either Emre Can or Jordan Henderson holding, there’s two spots either side – and if Keita joins – we’ll have superb options with Adam Lallana, Gini Wijnaldum and Marko Grujic competing for places as well.