Liverpool must tie down midfielder Naby Keita to a new contract this summer after some improved form, according to former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
The Lowdown: Keita much improved
The 27-year-old’s Reds career has been somewhat hit-and-miss over the past four years, with fitness issues and inconsistent performances holding him back at times.
That being said, Keita enjoyed a strong 2021/22 season for Liverpool, making 30 appearances in all competitions and averaging an 84.5% pass completion rate. As per WhoScored, his performance rating and number of Premier League starts were much higher than in the previous campaign.
The Latest: Robinson calls for new Keita deal
Speaking to Football Insider, Robinson talked up the idea of Keita remaining at Liverpool beyond 2023.
The Sky Sports pundit said:
“It is important that they keep Keita. He had a lot of game time last season and he played well. I was really impressed by him.
“When you consider that [Sadio] Mane has gone and that [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino only have a year left it is important that you keep Keita. You don’t want too much upheaval in the squad.
“Keita played a lot better than people expected him to this year. I think he was excellent at times. It is very important that they keep him in my eyes. He has been much improved.
“You have to remember that they lost [Georginio] Wijnaldum last year and did not replace him. They can’t really afford to lose another.”
The Verdict: Worth keeping
Keita is one of those players who could be divisive among the Liverpool fanbase, with some huge advocates of him and others feeling that he is overrated.
However, he showed last season what an effective cog in the machine he can be – Jurgen Klopp hailed him as ‘outstanding’ after the 5-0 demolition of Manchester United last autumn – and he can become a regular starter in a midfield which is starting to age.
Keita could still do with going up another gear, both in terms of consistency and all-round influence, but at 27, he could be about to hit the peak years of his career, so losing him in a year’s time wouldn’t make sense for Liverpool.
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