Following their 7-0 win over Chester FC in their first action of the 2018-19 preseason, Liverpool debuted two of their new signings in Naby Keïta and Fabinho. Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp shared some words on what the two midfielders bring to the team.
“Quality,” said the Liverpool boss. “Naby comes from Leipzig, knows the football philosophy, it’s a very similar one. [He is] very sharp in the challenges, very quick in mind in these situations for counter-pressing, it looks kind of natural, which is good.
“Monaco played a completely different style so Fabinho probably needs more time to adapt to that. But he is a fantastic football player as well; a good passer, speed is good, challenges are good - a proper defensive midfield player with the opportunity to be [in defence] as well, which is good. If you want to be part of our squad you need to be good, and these two boys are.”
Chester FC is not the toughest of competition Liverpool will face this season, but the two midfielders made promising debuts early in the preseason. Fabinho, who played the first 45 minutes of the match, was involved from the get go. Despite playing as the deepest midfielder, he hit the post and nearly had an assist. He also cycled the ball well through the middle of the pitch to the wings.
Keïta made his debut in the second half, playing in a central midfield role in a 4-4-2 formation with James Milner. Like his counterpart Fabinho, Keïta had a bright debut. Fans were able to see flashes of what he brings defensively and offensively. His pressing of Chester FC’s defense caused the turnover to create Daniel Sturridge’s goal in the 54th minute. Keïta nearly scored a goal of his own in the 69th minute after a lovely combination play with Danny Ings.
With just one preseason game in the books we haven’t seen anything like their best yet, but both Keïta and Fabinho showed Klopp signs of the quality they can bring to the Reds.