Jamie Carragher has called for Naby Keita to start this Sunday’s Merseyside Derby, with Jordan Henderson suspended and out of form.
The Guinean hasn’t played more than an hour for Liverpool since October and the Manchester City clash at Anfield – due to injuries and Jurgen Klopp going with his tried and tested safe midfield options.
The thing is, the likes of Hendo, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum have been anything but safe in Europe – with Liverpool losing all three of our away games in the Champions League – largely thanks to horrible midfield performances.
Keita has not yet lived up to his price-tag or his talent, but the Everton clash would be a mighty fine way to start forging his reputation.
“I’d like to see Keita go in there,” Carragher said, cited in the Echo.
“It was built up that he was going to make a big difference to the midfield but we’ve only seen glimpses of it so far.
“You need to get him in the team, you paid a lot of money for this lad. Klopp knew him from Germany. I’d like to see him in there and see what he’s all about. Keita gives you more pace and energy with dynamic running.
“I think it will be a difficult game for Liverpool in terms of trying to break Everton down. It will be tight but Liverpool are so strong defensively.”
What Keita can provide which our other midfielders cannot is midfield dribbling. The 23-year-old has the ability to take the ball on the half turn and drive forward. He also has the vision to thread the final pass and get into the opposition box and score, too.
Once he gets up to speed, he could become the first midfielder on our team-sheet, but like Carra suggests, it’s time Klopp gives him the opportunity to prove his mettle.