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Liverpool: Klopp must unleash Naby Keita vs Crystal Palace

Liverpool will play their second game of the season and their first Premier League game back at Anfield this evening against Crystal Palace, and there is no doubt that Jurgen Klopp will want to make a statement in front of the home fans after the disappointing 2-2 draw with Fulham last weekend.

The Reds struggled to hold off Marco Silva’s newly-promoted side and the disasters didn’t stop with the scoreline as Thiago Alcantara limped off the pitch early into the second half with a hamstring injury that will now see him sidelined for six weeks, further adding to Liverpool’s midfield injury issues.

Both Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were already unavailable for selection through injury so now with Thiago joining them in recovery, Klopp is left with James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Harvey Elliot and newly returned Naby Keita.

Keita had been unavailable for the Craven Cottage clash following a bout of illness, but the Liverpool manager took to his pre-match press conference on Friday to confirm that the Guinean midfielder will be ready to return on Monday night, and Klopp must slot him straight back into the starting line-up against Patrick Vieira’s side.

Liverpool played their fifth game of last season against Crystal Palace winning 3-0, in a clash that saw Keita score an absolute screamer against Vieira’s side at Anfield and Klopp could well hope for another great performance from the £130k-per-week sensation if he unleashes him in tonight’s fixture.

Although the German coach may be tempted to give Elliott the nod over Keita alongside Fabinho and Henderson, it would be much better for Keita to take the starting role in the midfield three this evening, as his experience could be invaluable over the game.

Keita who was hailed “world-class” by teammate Virgil van Dijk, a player who very much knows a thing or two about playing at an elite level, ranks favourably compared to his positional peers in the top five European leagues over the last 12 months.

Should Keita start against Crystal Palace?

Yes

Yes

No

No

He is in the top 10% for progressive passes, progressive carries, tackles and pressures, proving that he is an absolute nightmare for opponents and could cause a lot of problems for Palace.

That type of energy and progressive play will be particularly important due to the style of play that the Eagles carry out. Indeed, with a supreme array of young players at Vieira’s disposal, they play in a fluid fashion while gallivanting around the pitch at high tempo.

With that being said, amid Thiago’s injury problem, Keita could be the perfect counter to stop Palace from gaining a foothold in the match.

This very much feels like a perfect opportunity for Keita to prove that he can consistently provide Liverpool with the midfield quality they desperately need if they want to compete for multiple trophies again this season.

Article title: Liverpool: Klopp must unleash Naby Keita vs Crystal Palace

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