In the doom and gloom of the first international break of the season, Liverpool fans were given some exciting news. Jürgen Klopp has given an update on the injury for Guinean international Naby Keita, who is yet to fully settle into life at Anfield.
The midfielder has yet to feature for Liverpool in the Premier League this season after picking up a knock on their trip to Camp Nou late last season.
Keita did come back for a cameo in the Community Shield game against Manchester City, but picked up another niggle in training, prior to the UEFA Super Cup game against Chelsea in Turkey.
However, Klopp has now revealed that Keita could be a part of the squad that will face Newcastle United after the international break. How big a boost is this for Liverpool?
Keita’s route to the first team
Having moved to Liverpool as one of the best midfielders from Bundesliga more than a year ago, Keita has not been able to start a stretch of games for the Reds, owing to various injuries.
He has been on the sidelines for almost a month now, and will have to battle his way back into the Liverpool team.
The fact that Klopp started him in the Champions League semi-final in Spain last season shows the trust the manager has in Keita, but having missed a major chunk of the pre-season and only just coming back into training, he has a long way before he regains the trust of his manager.
Liverpool also have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri already knocking on the door for a place in the midfield alongside skipper Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, making life even difficult for Keita.
Why Keita is important to Liverpool
However, it will be hard for the manager to keep him out of the first team for too long. Keita has been used on the left side of the midfield three by Klopp last season and to be fair, he has been effective in most of the games he has played in.
The former Leipzig star registered 2.05 interceptions and 2.08 dribbles per 90 minutes last season, which is a representation of exactly what Klopp wants from his midfielders.
Keita is adept at winning the ball back and hardly dwells on it. He is quick in his decision making and his movement in the final third makes Liverpool’s system that much more dangerous.
Henderson and Fabinho provide enough defensive cover, allowing the former Leipzig man to push forward with every opportunity.
His creativity will be useful against sides that sit back and defend, but Keita’s ability to break up play in dangerous areas and his willingness to press makes him ideal for Klopp’s Liverpool even against the best sides in Europe will also hold him a good stead.
Liverpool do play six games in just over 20 days after the international break, which will give Keita a chance to impress but he will certainly have to fight his way back into the first team under Klopp this season.