Between The Lines: Aldridge doubts Keita will ever be good enough for Liverpool

John Aldridge has laid into Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, suggesting that he may not have the quality to have a future with the Reds.

The 23-year-old has struggled for form this season and, despite playing 18 games in the Premier League, has been dropped for several key encounters, including games against Arsenal and Manchester City.

What’s the word?

Keita moved to Liverpool in the summer but the club agreed a deal to sign the player in 2017, triggering his £48million release clause.

Such was the excitement around his arrival, Oddschecker revealed in July that he had become the 12/1 favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award at the end of the season.

Keita, instead, has struggled to get up to speed in English football, and has provided just one assist for the club in 23 games in all competitions.

Indeed, he struggled to retain possession in the 1-1 draw with West Ham on Monday and Reds legend Aldridge believes that the Guinea international should be dropped from the team altogether.

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He wrote in the Irish Independent: “I know (Jurgen) Klopp was forced into changes due to injuries, but Adam Lallana and Naby Keita cannot play together in midfield again, as they are just not up to the job for a title-winning team.

“He [Keita] has not settled at Liverpool and has failed to deliver the performances we were expecting from him, with Klopp and his coaching staff fighting to get him up to speed and still waiting to see if he will be good enough to play in this team.”

Too much hype

There was simply too much hype surrounding Keita.

Liverpool fans believed they had signed a player who had the ability to come in and turn them into title-winners.

Instead, he has been a below-par squad player.

Klopp has other options, of course, with the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson better suited to a midfield role.

But Keita flopping at Anfield has as much to do with the player himself as it does with the fans’ expectations of his abilities.

At the end of the day, it appears that he was always doomed to fail.