Tony Cascarino thinks Naby Keita has to ‘up his game’ at Liverpool, as he told talkSPORT.
The former Republic of Ireland striker thinks Keita is in a ‘weird’ situation at Anfield because of his game time.
Keita started Liverpool’s 3-2 win against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night and scored a stunning volley to put his team 2-0 ahead inside 15 minutes.
But that didn’t stop the Spanish champions from hitting back before the break and create numerous chances at their opponents goal.
Jurgen Klopp decided to make a change at half-time by taking off Kieta and bringing on the more defensive-minded Fabinho.
Cascarino spoke about the players that are ahead of the £48 million player (BBC Sport) and how he is still seemingly struggling for regular minutes.
“It’s a weird one,” said Cascarino. “Curtis Jones is injured. Thiago is injured. Wijnaldum left to go to PSG. He thought he would get more opportunities.
“Klopp has tried to juggle him and Oxlade-Chamberlain. He has tried to find a way to keep him within the group, and if you play really well, then you are going to play more football.
“He has to up his game. Like I said, the word ‘consistency’. What does he have to do? I find it very difficult (his future). He still has got a 35-year-old in James Milner playing in front, at times.”
There are a number of players in Keita’s situation on Merseyside, including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi.
In recent times, the likes of Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri have left the club, but they also struggled to earn those regular minutes.
Given how Liverpool have dominated, both in the Premier League and in Europe of late, it isn’t a surprise that back-up players struggle for that consistency.
But perhaps some could take a leaf out of Diogo Jota’s book, because he took his chances and made a difference when he was handed opportunities from the bench when he first joined.
That saw him force his way ahead of Roberto Firmino, although he has since regained that spot, but the duo are no doubt fighting for that forward role.