Naby Keita proved the source of a Cheshire Cat grin from his manager as he assessed the summer signing’s bright Liverpool debut.
Jurgen Klopp couldn’t hide his satisfaction after finally getting the chance to see the Guinean in action just under a year after agreeing a deal to sign him.
Keita was introduced at half-time in Liverpool’s 7-0 pre-season win over non-league Chester, with Klopp prolonging a teasing wait to see the former RB Leipzig man and fellow new arrival Fabinho line up together.
The 23-year-old oozed of the box-to-box burst and dynamism that warranted such extensive efforts on Liverpool’s part to acquire his services in principle last summer.
A comfortable afternoon staged initial glimpses of his proactiveness to seek the ball in all areas of the pitch, whether his team were in possession or not.
In doing so, he hinted at his value in Liverpool’s interchanging system by offering his support to teammates in the channels.
High-intensity pressing was a glistening feature to his Reds bow and saw him force the mistake that paved the way for Daniel Sturridge to notch his first goal of the game.
Watch Keita’s highlights here…
Keita also displayed the directness and agility in compact avenues to launch bursting runs between the lines as another attacking weapon for his manager to utilise.
This served as the latest clue of his ability to compensate for the loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s sharp transition into attack.
A standout sign of his final-third ambition arrived when he received the ball on the edge of the box from Danny Ings before jinking left and shanking his effort wide.
Liverpool will continue their search for a new no.10 until the transfer window closes, but in signing Keita the club will already enter the season having strengthened offensively.