Football moves fast, especially in the Premier League. One poor season can see the entire landscape of the English top flight change. Look at Chelsea, for example. A poor campaign under Antonio Conte last season has seen the Blues playing catch-up this year, yet they’re struggling to stay afloat. Only by constantly reinventing, upgrading and improving can a team or, indeed, an individual make it at the highest level in England.
It’s especially difficult for players that are coming to England for the first time. It’s impossible to prepare for a league that is as physical, as competitive and as constant as the Premier League, and that’s why so many players struggle upon their moves to the league.
No team has been able to avoid this with some of their signings over the years, with big money arrivals at clubs like Chelsea and Man Utd serving as prime examples of this. Even pillars of transfer consistency like Liverpool, who have spent so wisely over the last few years, can’t avoid it – as evidenced by Naby Keita’s form this term. Since moving from RB Leipzig, Keita has struggled to stake a claim in the Liverpool first team, and now it could all be over before it has really begun.
Indeed, according to Team Talk, Liverpool are ready to cash in on him this summer, with the club apparently willing to lose millions on the deal that brought the midfielder to England less than a year ago.
Keita’s been okay in the Premier League, but at a team like Liverpool, okay doesn’t cut it, and so it’s no huge surprise to see that the Guinean is already on borrowed time. However, in this case, it’s important that Liverpool aren’t rash. Indeed, in the case of Keita, the best is almost certainly yet to come.
After all, he’s already proven his talent, hence why Liverpool decided to sign him from RB Leipzig. There, as a 22-year-old and 23-year-old, Keita controlled the midfield, offering aggression, energy and guile and consistently outperforming all of those around him. He was an asset both moving forward and defensively, and that’s why the Reds opted to splash the cash to bring him in.
In many ways, he’s the ideal player for the Reds. He’s quick, he’s mobile, and he’s perfectly suited to Jurgen Klopp’s style. However, adjusting from Leipzig to Liverpool is a case of going from apples to oranges, and it was always going to take him some time to adjust.
There have been others at Liverpool, too, that have needed time. Take Roberto Firmino, for example. For a while in England, he couldn’t find his place, and only over the last year or two has he gone from a fantastic player to one of Europe’s best. Jordan Henderson is another. Having initially struggled at Anfield, he’s now the club captain, and he’s turned into one of the most energetic and reliable players in England. Even Jurgen Klopp found it tough at the start of his time at Anfield. What does this all prove? Well, it highlights that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and whilst these men have had their struggles at Liverpool, they’ve all come out the other side as far better players and managers.
The reality is that, at 24-years-old, the best is yet to come from Keita. He’s joined a new team, in a new league, in a new country – and it’s all combined to make it tough for him. However, the talent is clearly there, and Jurgen Klopp must recognise that.
Liverpool were willing to wait over a year for Naby Keita to arrive in England from RB Leipzig, so they can’t afford to cast him aside after less than one year in the Premier League. The best is yet to come.
Liverpool fans – let’s talk about Keita. What do you think of him? Will he stay? Should he go? Let us know below!
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