Liverpool bagged another pre-season victory on Thursday night against Blackburn Rovers.
The Reds are already four games deep into their preparations for the new season having already thrashed Chester 7-0, won 3-2 against Tranmere, drawn 0-0 with Bury and have now put Blackburn to the sword.
It was nothing to write home about and, in many ways, Liverpool fans were soon distratced by the announcement of Alisson Becker.
However, there was still plenty for Kopites to take from the victory at Ewood Park.
James Milner had an early penalty saved by David Raya despite his usual reliability from the spot, only for Lazar Markovic – of all people – to spare his blushes with the opening goal after the break.
BLACKBURN 0-2 LIVERPOOL
The second goal was of much more interest, though, and it came from the brilliance of Naby Keita who has been quietly impressing throughout pre-season.
In fact, the Guinea international was considered by supporters and journalists alike to be the star performer against Blackburn.
At times playing as more of a number 10, Keita was a powerful creative influence in the Liverpool team and helped break up the play of the opposition.
THE KEITA-STURRIDGE CONNECTION
Liverpool fans were also noticing something they probably didn’t expect in Keita’s game.
The 23-year-old has only been at Liverpool for a matter of weeks but has already sparked an intriguing connection with Daniel Sturridge.
Keita turned provided for Sturridge during his debut against Chester and was at it again on Thursday night, creating two clear opportunities for the Englishman.
Sturridge inexplicably missed the first one-on-one but made no mistake with the second, duly rewarding Keita with an assist.
Check out the pair’s highlights so far, and the reaction, below:
Keita and Sturridge have an understanding. pic.twitter.com/9rJpOZ4l75
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) July 19, 2018
So, Naby Keïta’s going to reinvigorate Sturridge, and Sturridge is going to help him settle in…Sound.
— Ben Webb (@BenWebbLFC) July 19, 2018
— Martin Smith (@MartinS52342573) July 19, 2018
— Sean Alexander (@2daywasagudday) July 7, 2018
Who would have thought it?
Keita has also played with Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi during pre-season, yet Sturridge is the man with whom he’s formed a clear connection.
Considering Sturridge is heavily linked with a Liverpool exit this summer, it will certainly give Jurgen Klopp plenty to think about and just maybe, Keita could bring the best out of him again.
That being said, Kopites can only take so much from friendly fixtures against relatively weak opposition.
It will be interesting to see if Keita and Sturridge can continue their chemistry in upcoming friendlies with Borrusia Dortmund, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Liverpool fans would be more than satisfied if their new signing can encourage even half the level of performance they saw from Sturridge back in 2013-14.
It’s an unlikely partnership but, perhaps, a fruitful one.