By Scott Mason – @ScottMason00
Liverpool gave themselves a big boost in reaching the Champions League semi-finals after beating FC Porto 2-0 at Anfield.
The Red’s started off the game by scoring early through Naby Keita, who scored his first Champions League goal for Liverpool and his second in two games. Roberto Firmino later tapped in Alexander Arnold’s cross to double the lead.
The midfield in this game was the same that finished the game versus Southampton and the trio of Henderson, Fabinho and Keita impressed again. However, it was the latter that impressed the most.
Naby Keita has been given his fair share of criticism ever since joining last June. The Guinean has struggled to make a real impact in this Liverpool team but his last two performances, especially the one vs Porto, have shown what he truly is capable of.
The former Leipzig man has often been criticised for his defensive contribution in the Liverpool team but versus Porto his defensive performance was excellent. The No.8 won more tackles (8) than anyone else on the pitch while also winning the most duels (12).
The midfielders passing was also in top form at Anfield as he completed 86% of his passes which included completing three out of four long passes.
The most impressive aspect of Naby Keita’s game though was his short but quick sprints into the midfield. Keita on multiple occasions retrieved the ball and quickly turned and sprinted into the middle of the park or towards goal where he was constantly looking to create a chance each time.
Having a player who possesses the mindset of win back the ball and sprint towards goal to make something happen could be vital for Jurgen Klopp’s side if they are to go on and try to reach a consecutive European final.
Liverpool have recently struggled to create chances to unlock opponents and Naby Keita could be the key.