After suggesting that he could “imagine” a move to the Premier League and Liverpool, RB Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer could hand a big blow to former teammate Naby Keita.
Ever since making the same move from Germany to Anfield back in 2018, the Guinean midfielder has struggled to find consistent football on Merseyside having made just 75 appearances for the club. Within that, he has started just 46 of those matches.
That could be down to a number of injuries and at some point poor form but the main reason for that lack of action is simply that he is some way down the midfield pecking order under Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp.
The likes of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum would likely be the German’s first choice trio, whilst there is also Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner amongst those providing considerable competition.
Seeing the £36m-rated Sabitzer arrive on Merseyside would only serve to increase that competition, seeing Keita fall down the pecking order even more.
After all, the Austrian has a “remarkable” presence on the pitch as suggested by former RB Leipzig sporting director and coach Ralf Rangnick.
When comparing Sabitzer and his opposite number Keita, it is unsurprisingly the former who comes out on top.
According to WhoScored, he has attempted more shots per game this season – 2.1 to 0.9 – and has completed more key passes – 1 to 0.6.
Meanwhile, Sabitzer also has far more of a defensive presence in the centre of the park, making more interceptions and clearances, whilst the two players are level on tackles.
So, having been teammates at the Red Bull Arena for two years between 2016 and 2018, the two midfielders could once again be reunited at Anfield.
However, Sabitzer’s arrival might actually harm Keita more than it helps him in the long run, especially as he seems the more durable and lucrative fit as Klopp’s box-to-box dynamo in the middle.