Naby Keita was exceptional on Saturday afternoon.
The Guinean scored a goal, registered an assist and put in one of his best ever Liverpool performances since arriving at the club in the summer of 2018.
But this season has been a slow-burner for him, with injuries playing their part but also an inability to get selected regularly by Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool’s manager has lauded Keita’s performance in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth and interestingly, explained that he hasn’t been in the team much due to his weakness at defending set-pieces.
“Naby had injuries, the team is in really good shape, so then do you change?,” Klopp told BBC Sport.
“We are not flying, it’s not like we won all of the games 4-0, or 5-0, so we had to bring on a player who helps us with defending set-pieces.
“Then Naby is sitting outside thinking, ‘why don’t I play?’ I get all that.
“So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it.
“But in the end of course a player needs to have this evidence that the manager still believes in you. I was never in doubt about that.
“It was just unlucky and in life you need luck always. He started (his Liverpool career) really well – everybody forgot that – then got injured. And again we had two really good seasons.
“(I was) never in doubt about his quality.”
What you sacrifice in defensive aerial ability with Keita, you make up for with passing, dribbling and creativity.
And in fairness, the Bournemouth win was our first in 15 games in which we kept a clean-sheet!
We’d argue that in terms of natural ability, Keita is our best midfielder, but completely understand Klopp needs three tactically disciplined, physical and at times defensive players in his setup when considering the role of our onrushing fullbacks.
We think there’s a good chance Keita will start on Saturday against Watford, in fact, but wouldn’t be surprised to see Klopp go with Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum for tomorrow’s clash with Rb Salzburg – or as it’s known on Twitter, ‘The Brexit Midfield’!