Keita an­swers Liver­pool’s call

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Bournemouth

– Naby Keita (above) has started to show he can add cre­ativ­ity to Liver­pool’s mid­field but Juer­gen Klopp may ques­tion his squad’s strength in depth de­spite se­cur­ing two Pre­mier League wins in four days.

Klopp is likely to re­vert to his tried-and-trusted first choices at Bournemouth to­day, hav­ing been a lit­tle lucky on Wed­nes­day to emerge with a 3-1 win at Burn­ley af­ter mak­ing seven changes to his line-up.

There were good rea­sons for so many changes – the match came hot on the heels of Sun­day’s dra­matic late derby vic­tory over Ever­ton, at the start of a fran­tic month that fea­tures home games against Napoli, Manch­ester United and Arse­nal.

In ad­di­tion, full-back Andy Robert­son and for­ward Sa­dio Mane were in­jured, and so Klopp would have had to shuf­fle his play­ers around even if ro­ta­tion had not been on his mind.

Yet Liver­pool were sec­ond-best for the open­ing hour at Turf Moor against op­po­nents without a vic­tory since Septem­ber 30, and only turned the match around in the fi­nal 30 min­utes, when Klopp brought on Mo­hamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. It was ev­i­dence of just how im­por­tant Salah, Firmino and Sane are to the Liver­pool cause, even if they have not been at their best this sea­son.

Dur­ing Liver­pool’s strug­gles on Wed­nes­day, though, the per­for­mance of Keita did give Klopp rea­son to be pos­i­tive.

The Guinean mid­fielder’s im­pact has been re­stricted by in­jury prob­lems since his ar­rival from RB Leipzig in July but he is start­ing to look at home in the English game. His cre­ativ­ity is likely to be cru­cial, given that Liver­pool have been short of such a player fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in Jan­uary and be­cause of the long-term knee in­jury suf­fered by Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain in April.

Of the seven play­ers brought into the start­ing line-up by Klopp at Burn­ley, Keita made the strong­est case to re­tain his place at Bournemouth. He showed he was will­ing to fight for the ball and also pro­vided for­ward im­pe­tus. – AFP

In his over­all play he is com­fort­able on the ball and he helps build up play from the back. Jor­dan Hen­der­son Liver­pool cap­tain

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