Naby Keita started for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool as they sealed a narrow Champions League victory against KRC Genk at Anfield.
Almost a year and a half into Naby Keita’s Liverpool career, the Anfield faithful is still no closer to making up their collective minds about the £52.75 million man.
And his performance in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League victory over Genk arguably posed more questions than answers.
Keita has flitted between influential and anonymous in recent weeks as Jurgen Klopp aims to eke some much-needed consistency out of a player who was arguably the Bundesliga’s most impressive all-round midfielder during his heady days at RB Leipzig.
Keita was exceptional away at Genk two weeks ago, kicking off the game with an ingenious pass with his back, a move straight out of the Ronaldinho playbook, before flopping fading from view during that mad 5-5 EFL Cup draw with Arsenal.
In truth, his latest outing on Tuesday night against the Belgian champions was probably somewhere in between. Keita was at his brilliant, barnstorming best as he helped set up Gini Wijanldum’s opener with a trademark driving run but he faded badly in the second half, caughing up possession at a remarkable rate, before being hooked with a quarter of an hour to go.
The potential is clear to see but Keita is still a million miles away from the all-action enforcer who dominated games in the Bundesliga with his unique blend of physical and technical gifts.
No wonder the Anfield crowd aren’t sure what to make of him.
Keita was good last night, why do people think he was bad?
— ⭕️ (@3binhoLFC) November 6, 2019
Loved Keita yesterday. The way he doesn’t do anything stupid, and always plays it simple. Cool, calm, collected. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the team.
— Paul Connor (@PaulLFCTalks) November 6, 2019
No chance mate. Couldn’t lace his boots
— Ubershot (@MdUbershot) November 5, 2019
Every time he plays I see threads asking same question about him. Everyone of us wish he was better facts are he is only just average doesn’t do anything special your lying to yourself if you think otherwise.
— David Reilly (@davidreilly2006) November 5, 2019
Actually felt that Keita was our best player in the 1st half.
— Spion Kop (@TheKopHQ) November 6, 2019
Clearly watched a different game, Keita was absolutely awful
— Adam JFT96 YNWA (@AdnPaiLaynLFC) November 6, 2019
Keita is playing better than Gini. Gini goes invisible. His only contribution was the goal and was invisible the whole game
— Aaryan Liverpudlian (@AaryanLFC) November 6, 2019
Rewatching the Genk game, Naby Keita really a joy to watch moving the ball forward effortlessly. His end product needs polishing, not very good atm but when it is we will see the RBL Naby Keita.
— LFC Views (@Mobyhaque1) November 6, 2019