Naby Keita has the weight of expectation on his shoulders following his £52.75m move to Liverpool.
Having pre-agreed to join the Reds last summer from RB Leipzig, the 22-year-old arrived on July 1 to much fanfare.
He’s widely regarded as one of the world’s up-and-coming talents in central midfield thanks to his versatility and all-action style of play.
Keita is adept at tracking back and protecting the back four but also pushing forward using his pace, creativity and skill.
And that’s exactly what attracted him to Jurgen Klopp, who explained in July how he plans to utilise Keita’s talents.
“We got him because he is the player he is and now we want to work with that,” said the German. “That means first of all we let him go and adapt to our system.
“I see him as an ‘8’, he can play ’10’ as well, maybe in the future he can play ‘6’ as well.
KLOPP: KEITA MUST ADAPT
“At Leipzig he played as a winger – that’s for sure not his best position but he can play it because he has the speed for it, he has the football intelligence for it.
“We see him as a creative No.8, playing the passes and making the runs with the ball.”
Keita is expected to play alongside Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson for Liverpool throughout the season in a tough-tackling midfield three.
However, Klopp mentioned in his press conference that the Guinean will need time to adapt to his system and that potentially proved to be the case during Tuesday night’s friendly.
Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners against Torino and according to football journalist Chris Williams, who was at the game, Klopp blamed Keita for the goal they conceded.
Klopp thought Keita left Alberto Moreno in a one vs two situation that allowed Torino’s winger, Lorenzo De Silvestri, to cross for Andrea Belotti to head home.
The Liverpool manager shouted: “Don’t leave him (Moreno) with a two on one…” which is actually pretty harsh based on the video below.
Sensational exchange between Belotti and De Silvestri left the Champions League finalists as mere spectators. Proper forward play from the striker as well.
Another huge season for him, and you suspect not many CL clubs would be able to keep their hands off Torino's prized jewel. pic.twitter.com/blHW9Nmbs0
— . (@hallowedsaber) August 7, 2018
— Chris Williams (@Chris78Williams) August 7, 2018
Strange. It actually looks like Moreno, not Keita, was to blame for the goal because he gave De Silvestri too much space, which is exactly what Liverpool fans have been saying.
Keita didn’t seem to do an awful lot wrong but perhaps Klopp saw something we didn’t.
I think u will find he said “don’t leave him to defend anyone” same old Moreno at least he’s consistently not good enough a defender.
— Anesh (@AneshRed7) August 7, 2018
He didn’t even try to block the cross same old moreno
— mohammed abbas (@basy786) August 7, 2018
100% blame moreno for that
— Jamal Hussain (@Jamzy_786) August 7, 2018