Gerard Houllier knows a thing or two about Steven Gerrard’s development, having managed the legendary Liverpool captain as a young player.
Interestingly, the Frenchman also spotted the talents of the man who now wears Gerrard’s number eight red shirt, Naby Keita.
Houllier told the Liverpool Echo about when he first watched the Reds midfielder and what he did that reminds him of a young Gerrard.
He said: “Keita was playing for a ‘championship’ team in France. They were struggling but he was playing everyone off the park.
“Like when I saw Steven Gerrard; he was practically everywhere and his maturity was impressive, even under pressure. I recommended Salzburg buy him. He has a good attitude. Once he fits in the team, he will stay there.”
Liverpool fans have seen Keita’s ability since he moved to Anfield, but injuries have meant it hasn’t been on a consistent basis.
This is a team who have reached two Champions League finals, won the title and got 97 points since Keita arrived.
There just hasn’t been the time or enough players who have underperformed in his position to give him the regular gametime he’s needed to get up to speed.
It looks like he will get it in the closing weeks of the season, and he got an assist for the second successive game in the 3-1 win at Brighton on Wednesday night.
He will hope to make good on Houllier’s prediction as the campaign draws to a close.