You guys, Naby Keita is that much closer to switching out that garish red bull for the mighty Liverbird today than he was yesterday. In case any Liverpool fans needed extra fuel for the raging FOMO, take a look at footage of the boss performance from dynamic midfielder in the Europa League this past Thursday.
Current employers RB Leipzig ran out 3-1 victors over Napoli in the opening leg of the second tier competition’s knockout rounds, with the future Anfield star playing a key role in the proceedings. Keita’s full toolset was on devastating display, harrying the Italian midfield when on the ball, halting opposition attacking moves, exhibiting excellent ball retention when in possession and rapidly launching attacks with a combination of raking long balls and scything vertical passes along the ground.
All in all, the Guinean midfielder finished with 4 successful dribbles, 3 tackles, an astounding 21 possession recoveries, a 88% pass completion rate with 1 key pass.
While the Reds have clearly adapted since the loss of former talisman, Philippe Coutinho—as big wins over Manchester City and Porto, in addition to a dominant showing against Tottenham have proved—there has nevertheless been a distinct lack of dynamism and creativity in midfield since the Brazilian departed for Barcelona. Indeed, the continued free flow of goals has often been in spite of the dearth of end product from the industrious midfield, often times the engine room preferring to simply win the ball back and allowing the front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah to sprint out for a furious counterattack.
Granted, Adam Lallana is still cautiously working his way back to full fitness, but even so, just watching Keita, it is easy to see how he combines all of the best traits of the current midfield—just at a vastly higher level of ability.
The demigod known Mr. Boywunder has the footage here below:
That £60m-66m Liverpool will eventually pay Leipzig for the dynamo’s services on June 1 is already looking like a steal of Mohamed Salah proportions and Keita hasn’t even touched down on Merseyside yet.