Securing the signature of Naby Keita last summer ahead of this summer’s transfer window was probably the tidiest bit of business Liverpool have ever done - and it was nearly a whole year ago. Now Naby Keita is finally on Merseyside, getting ready to join the squad on July 2nd and truly become a Liverpool player. He hasn’t played a minute and it already feels like he’s coming home.
(Also it’s a bit of transfer news that’s been well over with and is finally coming to fruition).
In all this excitement, it’s understood by our buddy James Pearce at the Liverpool Echo that Naby has requested to wear the number eight shirt for his Liverpool career. Normally, this wouldn’t be any sort of newsworthy thing. Keita wore the number eight for RB Leipzig and traditionally signs the number next to his name when autographing anything. Pretty standard stuff.
It’s because we all know who used to wear the number eight.
The number eight shirt hasn’t been used since Steven Gerrard left in 2015, after ending his career “a year too soon.”
(Or a year too late, depending on who you ask).
Regardless of how this writer, or anyone else, feels about Steven Gerrard currently it would be hard to ignore the significance of seeing the iconic shirt on Anfield’s pitch once again. That number comes with a lot of history of battles, hard won and hard lost. Epic victories and even more epic defeats. There were even calls to “retire” the shirt when Gerrard moved on, because many felt no one would be able to fill in those strapping shoulders.
Naby Keita has proven himself the type of hard fighting midfield player that seems just the perfect match for that number and all the baggage that comes with it.
I, for one, look forward to someone else making history in that number.