Forget Thiago: LFC maestro with 100% dribble success proved why Klopp must keep faith – opinion

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    Having signed from RB Leipzig, it’s fair to say Naby Keita hasn’t exactly set the world alight at Liverpool.

    Since his arrival, the Guinea international has made just 56 appearances for the club, scoring six goals and providing only four assists. And this season has arguably encapsulated his entire Anfield career so far.

    He has played just 23 times across all competitions, suffered from various different injury problems, and has barely shown anything like the kind of form that ultimately convinced the Reds to spend big-money on signing him in the first place.

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    But amid some recent links to Bayern Munich play-maker Thiago, Keita stepped up to the plate in fine fashion against Brighton in the Premier League on Wednesday night.

    In a comfortable 3-1 victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side, it was Keita who helped run the show in the middle of the park, and showed signs of the potential that he possesses.

    In the 61 minutes he was on the pitch, he set up Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s owner, and affected the game in multiple ways, eventually finishing on an impressive 8.2 match rating as per Sofascore – the highest of any Reds player. And when you look at the underlying numbers behind his performance, it is easy to see why.

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    He had a 100% dribble success rate (three out of three), made two tackles, provided four key passes, created two big chances, and also won all six of the duels that he contested on the ground.

    It was the kind of all-action, yet creative display that Klopp would surely have been hoping for from the 25-year-old, and really now raises the question of whether a bona-fide star like Thiago is needed.

    The Bayern ace could well be a game-changer for the Reds, but if Keita can show that he can offer something similar with his guile and craft, then there is no reason why Klopp shouldn’t just keep the faith in the midfielder that he already has.

    It was a performance brimming with potential, and why the Merseyside club shouldn’t be quick to throw the former Leipzig ace aside.

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