There was a lot for Liverpool fans to take in over the summer, with the Reds investing heavily in new talent. Alisson was, for most, the big name, but the arrival of both Fabinho and Naby Ketia also threw up a lot of interesting conversations for fans.
Of course, both players are midfielders, and so it wasn’t unfeasible to see both vying for one spot in the first team. As it turns out, they have played slightly different roles under Jurgen Klopp, but that doesn’t mean that the two players are not directly comparable.
Indeed, there’s been a clear difference between how the two players have been able to impact the Premier League during their debut season in England – and it seems to be pretty obvious as to who has offered the best value for money thus far.
Fabinho didn’t play a full 90 minutes in the Premier League for Liverpool until October of 2018, more than two months into the season. However, he seems to have thrived under those circumstances, with his slow introduction seemingly having a hugely positive result on his impact in a Liverpool shirt.
Since that point, he’s been able to amass a number of games in a Liverpool shirt, with the Brazilain having started 17 games so far this term.
Throughout most of those fixtures, he’s been an exemplary member of the Liverpool team. He’s offered shielding for the defence and he’s offered versatility in the midfield, whilst he’s also been able to have an impact moving forward. His passing has been sensational, and that’s made him the perfect deep-lying midfielder for the Reds.
He hasn’t been without his flaws, and at times he hasn’t set the world alight, but as far as his first season in England goes, he’s been very good indeed.
TT Grade: B+
Naby Keita came with all the hype and expectation in the world, but the Guinean midfielder has thus far been unable to deliver on much of it at all.
He hasn’t shown a patch of what made Liverpool spend big to land him, with a lack of aggression, dribbling and purpose serving to slow down the Liverpool midfield and making the team as a collective less deadly when he’s been involved.
With a return of just 1 assist and 0 goals, not much more needs to be said about his time at Anfield thus far. His job isn’t primarily to produce numbers like that, but that return largely serves as a microcosm of his spell more broadly – he’s been below par.
There have been flashes of quality, and maybe he’ll come good, but so far, most fans would agree that Keita hasn’t been good enough. Has he been what Liverpool were expecting? The answer to that question can only be no.
TT Grade: D
It’s clear at this stage, then, that Fabinho has outshone Keita. He’s played more games, earned more minutes, and he simply offered a better account for himself in a Liverpool shirt.
Keita has age on his side, because at 24-years-old he can still improve, but it’s hard to look at his first season in England and see a player that has lived up to the hype.
Fabinho, meanwhile, who is also young at 25-years-old, has continually offered solidity and consistency in the heart of the midfield, and though Klopp has looked to hold him back somewhat, whenever he’s been selected he’s proven his quality.
Maybe there is more to come from Keita, but any signs of that happening are, at present, not visible. He’s got a lot of work to do.
Liverpool fans – do you agree? Who has had the better season? Let us know below!
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