Naby Keita started his fourth successive game for the Reds for the first time since signing from RB Leipzig as he performed excellently against Bournemouth at Anfield – and fans were impressed.
Jurgen Klopp elected to stick by his man, leaving Jordan Henderson on the substitutes bench, and he was rewarded for doing so.
Big bear hug for Naby Keita from Jurgen Klopp. That was a massive step forward for the Guinean midfielder today. #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) February 9, 2019
It wasn’t just journalists who were raving about Keita – plenty of Reds fans were very happy for the number eight, too.
Can we take a moment to appreciate Naby Keita’s performance today? Despite not assisting he was involved in all 3 goals today, made the most tackles on the pitch with 7 and was unlucky not to score. Finally shown to everyone how quality he is. Our no.8. pic.twitter.com/m7AChVYrtV
— . (@VintageSalah) February 9, 2019
Honestly Naby Keita’s passing today is like his Leipzig days. He has been activated
— LFC Scout Watch (@Mobyhaque1) February 9, 2019
Naby Keita much improved. Looked lively throughout, providing chances to the front three including a brilliant through ball to Firmino for the 3rd. Brighter off the ball too, working hard to win possession back. Really stepped it up a gear – central role is where he needs to be.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) February 9, 2019
Naby Keita coming to life…
— DaveOCKOP (@DaveOCKOP) February 9, 2019
That’s the Naby Keïta we all shamelessly stalked at RB Leipzig.
— Kevin McGuinness 🍋 (@Guinnesszoon) February 9, 2019
An hour down, and Naby Keita now on two hockey assists and a press leading to a goal.
But don't worry — he's still a flop and, of course, behind any number of obscure PL midfielders in goals and assists
— Alex Mansfield (@el_mansfield) February 9, 2019
This was the Naby Keita we thought we were getting – one which can create and control as he did against Bournemouth expertly.
He will be hopeful of retaining his place against Bayern Munich in the Champions League next time out – having performed like he did, it would be very harsh to leave him out.
If he can build on that showing in the coming months, Keita could well become crucial – that would be a real boost for the Reds.
We know he’s capable – it’s just a case of consistency and confidence.