Having already agreed a summer move to Liverpool, Naby Keita’s outings for RedBull Leipzig aren’t so much auditions for a midfield role at Anfield – rather, showcases and previews to give Reds fans a taste of what they can expect to see from the prodigious 23-year-old next season.
And the current signs are certainly encouraging. The 23-cap Guinea international has been one of the form players in the Bundesliga this season, notching four goals and three assists from midfield, and Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Zenit showed what he can do against European opposition as well.
Keita – who Transfermarkt value at £45million – claimed a stunning assist as he picked up the ball on the halfway line, powered his way past the midfield and slipped through Timo Werner to seal a 2-1 win over the Russian outfit. That was one of three chances the 5 foot 8 midfielder created, while winning five tackles, recording five dribbles and completing 93% of his passes.
That dynamic mix of tackles, running power and creativity is the perfect combination of what Jurgen Klopp wants in midfield, echoing what Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has brought to the engine room this season.
And considering how impressive the Reds have been during the last few months, emerging as arguably the likeliest side to really compete with Manchester City next season, the prospect of both lining up behind Liverpool’s lightening front three is a frighteningly exciting one.