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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Naby Keita produced his best Liverpool performance vs Bournemouth

Naby Keita produced his best performance for Liverpool against Bournemouth.

It was the exact kind of display Jurgen Klopp signed him for when splashing over £50million - and paying a premium - to bring the Guinean to Anfield.

Keita has failed to live up to much of the hype surrounding his signing from RB Leipzig last summer for much of the season - in part due to injuries.

The midfielder's woes were particularly stark against West Ham on Monday night, a game which saw the Reds fall to a second successive draw amid questions over their staying power in the title race.


Keita made more tackles than anyone else at Anfield on Saturday

Against the Hammers, Keita failed to make a single tackle - a portion of the game he is usually famed for; he showed in the Bundesliga that there are few players in European football who can win the ball back and then advance with it like he can.

Fast forward to Saturday and the visit of the Cherries and Keita managed seven tackles - three more than anyone else on the pitch.

It typified his defensive performance, while a 91 per cent pass completion record exemplified his all-round quality.

One pass, his outside of the foot through ball to Roberto Firmino in the build-up to Mo Salah's goal, could easily have been copy and pasted from peak Barcelona .

Keita was placed in a midfield three with Fabinho sitting and the similarly all-action Gini Wijnaldum also going box-to-box.

Heatmaps clearly show Keita given a free role along the left side, but also allowed to float around, in comparison to Fabinho's deep lying position and Wijnaldum keeping to the right.

This freedom meant more touches, 120, than anyone else in red; he was integral to a controlled, dominant display.

Keita's impact meant Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 victory - which saw Sadio Mane, Wijnaldum and Mo Salah all find the net.

Left-back Robertson noted the extraordinary performance of his teammate.
“They were different class,” Robertson told the club’s official website. “On my side, I thought that Naby was excellent.

“He has taken a wee bit of time to settle in but today was probably his best performance in a Liverpool shirt. I’m sure he can take a lot of confidence from that, which he will.
“Gini has been magnificent this season and he pops up with a goal and, to be fair to him, it’s a great finish. Fabinho just goes about his business and won the ball back for us so many times.

“So, the midfield won their battles and that set us off and everyone followed suit. I don’t think we lost many battles all over the field.”
With Bayern Munich and Manchester United on the horizon, this was the perfect time for Keita to show his best.

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