Made the difference: Naby Keïta hits the ground running in Premier League restart

While Liverpool’s performance against Everton was lethargic, Naby Keïta was a shining beacon of innovation and positive play.

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Liverpool’s return to Premier League action did not go to plan as the Reds were held to a 0-0 draw at Goodison Park. Jürgen Klopp’s side struggled to test Jordan Pickford with the home side creating the better chances.

Overall it was a lethargic, sub-standard performance from Liverpool, though one man stood out from the rest. Naby Keïta was the spark in the midfield and was his side’s best player on the day.

For some there were big expectations for the midfielder due to journalists close to the club saying that Klopp and his backroom staff had been impressed by how good he has been in training since the restart. The former RB Leipzig man brought his training form onto the pitch with an excellent 65-minute showing against Carlo Ancelotti’s side.


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The No.8 often found himself in the space between the Everton midfield and defence where he was able to cause the Toffees some problems. As the game went on, this pocket of space would be Keïta’s main area of operation.

The £52million man’s best chance of the game came in the 51st minute. He played a one-two with Roberto Firmino before attempting a volley inside the box. His shot flew wide, but the link up was excellent and it was refreshing to see him trying to innovate in a match so devoid of creativity.

In the 65th minute, Keïta was replaced by Gini Wijnaldum much to the displeasure of supporters on social media. Despite coming off with 25 minutes still to play, the Guinean ended the game with more ball recoveries than anyone else for Liverpool (7). He also completed one interception and won the two tackles he attempted.

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Before the suspension of the Premier League, Naby Keïta had his injury problems. He never looked like he was fully fit and would rarely start for the Reds. The lockdown presented an ideal opportunity for him to let his body fully recover and move on from any small injury issues that he had.

After his performance against Everton the message from Klopp to the player should be more of the same. He needs to trust in his ability, stay fit and continue to stand out when he plays.

Liverpool just need five points from their remaining eight games to mathematically secure the Premier League title.


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