After almost a year of waiting, Liverpool fans finally saw Naby Keita complete his move to Anfield this week.
The Reds cut a deal for Keita last summer, but RB Leipzig insisted that they held onto their midfield general for another season as they made their debut in European football.
As a result, Kopites have been eagerly tracking his performances in the Bundesliga and Europa League to establish what he’ll bring to Liverpool in 2018-19.
Supporters won’t have long to wait now with speculation that Keita could make his Liverpool ‘debut’ in an upcoming pre-season friendly with Chester.
Steven Gerrard has already met the Guinea international, handing over the iconic number eight jersey that had sat unclaimed since his 2015 departure.
XABI ALONSO ON NABY KEITA
And now former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso has spoken about the Reds’ exciting new signing.
Alonso plied his trade on Merseyside for five years, is widely regarded as one of the finest midfielders of his generation and played against Keita during his spell with Bayern Munich.
Taking that midfield battle into account, Alonso told Liverpool’s official website: “He’s a big personality. He has the hunger, the will to compete, and after in football terms he’s an all-round midfielder.
HIGH PRAISE FOR THE NEW SIGNING
“[He’s] Good with the ball, he runs and dribbles very quickly with the ball, but he also likes to make things tick in the midfield.
“I think for this position in front of the holding midfielder, or even as a holding midfielder [or] close to the front three, he can have that role to find the space and to be up there. So [he’s a] good signing.
“He will have to adapt to the idea [of Klopp’s philosophy], but I don’t think that he will have many problems because he’s a great player and very complete.
“[Under] Jürgen you need to do [play like] ‘bang, bang, bang’ and if he gets it, he will do well.”
Considering Alonso neutralised midfields and dominated the centre of the pitch for years throughout his career, his praise for Keita shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The first time the two players met, Alonso ran away the victor in a 3-0 win and left with his name on the scoresheet.
Keita more than earned the Spaniard’s respect in the reverse fixture that season, though, where RB Leipzig were unlucky to lose in a 5-4 thriller.
So, one of Liverpool’s finest ever midfielders has given the seal of approval and it’s exciting times for fans.
If Keita can live up to his reputation and the praise of others, he could quickly become a fan’s favourite on Merseyside…