For the vast majority of the 2017/18 campaign the Liverpool supporters expressed plenty of excitement for the arrival of Naby Keita, and now that the deal has been officially completed it will be interesting to see how he fares in the Premier League.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ruled out with a long-term injury, Keita (valued at £58.5 million by Transfermarkt) arrives at Anfield with every chance of slotting straight into the first-team next season.
A creative midfield player by trade who loves to drive forward with the ball at his feet whilst simultaneously seeking ways to dissect the opposition with his incisive vision, Keita possesses an enormous level of potential to succeed at Liverpool, but he is far from the finished article.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was arguably Liverpool’s most improved player last season, as his performances during the second half of the season were almost completely unrecognisable from the abject showings he displayed during the early stages of his career on Merseyside.
He arguably reached the pinnacle of his game during Liverpool’s compelling 5-1 aggregate victory over Manchester City in the Champions League, and the Reds will certainly miss his presence next season in their pursuit to catch the Premier League champions.
Man City’s dominance was so imperious last season that it’s difficult to see past them for the title once again this season, but Liverpool’s extravagant summer spending spree suggests they are planning on mounting a bid for the top prize next season.
Plenty of expectation has been placed on Keita’s shoulders, but a record of 7 yellow cards and 2 red cards to his name from just 27 appearances last season suggests his hot-headed nature could count against him.
More experienced central midfield players will certainly try and take advantage of the 23-year-old’s ill-discipline by winding him up on the field of play, which could disrupt his rhythm in a league which is far more intense than the Bundesliga.
The fact that his passing success rate was just 81.4% (via WhoScored) in the Bundesliga last season is not a huge cause for concern, but it’s a statistic that must be improved if he wishes to command the midfield in the manner which plenty of supporters expect him to.
Ultimately, it’s Keita’s creative qualities which encouraged Liverpool to spend a whopping £54 million in order to secure his services and if they shine through the Reds will have a superb opportunity to compete for the title, so Klopp must find a way of improving the Guinea international’s composure to ensure he improves his disciplinary record and moves his pass success percentage closer to the 85% mark.
Liverpool fans – thoughts? Let us know below!