Jurgen Klopp gave Naby Keita a start yesterday in the 2-0 victory over Aston Villa and the Guinean rewarded his faith with a top midfield showing.
Keita’s assist for Sadio Mane’s opener was the highlight, but he made a number of smart passes throughout the game and constantly offered himself to his team-mates when they were on the ball.
“Naby is a top player, a top player. It was a difficult game today, but he was really good and helped us a lot,” Jurgen Klopp told the Standard.
“Not only with the assist; you could always play the pass to him, he always offers, he was in smart positions. I liked the game a lot today and it’s just a good example of how good he can be.”
In Klopp’s most trusted midfield three, Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson sit either side of Fabinho, so Keita usually has to take a spot on the bench, but outings like his at Anfield yesterday will only boost his chances of taking one of those spots – most likely Wijnaldum’s on the left of the three.
Gini is obviously a terrific player, but Keita offers more incisive passes than the Dutchman, who takes less risks in possession and is also tactically smarter.
Still, it’s a nice option for Klopp to have, especially considering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones now vying for minutes too – not to mention James Milner as our evergreen option!