Naby Keita is available again for Liverpool and the timing couldn’t be better for Jürgen Klopp
When Bill Shankly was in his pomp as Liverpool boss with a team sitting nicely in England, he had an inventory response when he made inquiries about team news.
« Like last season » was the answer and underlined an impressive consistency, which meant that his line-up did not have to be tinkered with.
Though for very different reasons, Jürgen Klopp must have been considering a not-too-dissimilar sentence over the past few weeks when considering his midfield options.
With so many older players out of the engine room this season, Klopp had no choice but to keep contacting the same staff.
Not least Gini Wijnaldum, who has played more competitive minutes this season than any other member of the Liverpool squad, including international matches.
Curtis Jones has also developed into a mainstay in the last few weeks, enabling teenagers to develop and further exploit the potential of their formative years at the academy.
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But that was what led Klopp to use Takumi Minamino in midfield between Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend in a no-spark experiment.
Jordan Henderson’s second-half return on the south coast has at least given Klopp, with Fabinho primarily a center-back at the moment, a full complement of specialized players to fill a three-man midfield.
But Naby Keita, who is returning to full training and is being considered for the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Premier League visit on Sunday, has finally given the Reds boss the much-needed scope for rotation and added tactical flexibility.
Since Liverpool are already through as group winners, the Champions League rubber could see a shadow squad traveling to Denmark at FC Midtjylland on Wednesday.
This is followed, however, by six important Premier League games that will most likely shape the second half of the campaign.
Twelve months ago he was in arguably his best form for Liverpool with three goals and one assist, while playing an important role in the FIFA Club World Cup win over Flamengo.
The Guinean was impressive after last season’s suspension and had gotten off to an encouraging start this season until he was pulled out of the race due to a series of injury issues.
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It says a lot that Rhys Williams, Minamino, Neco Williams, Adrian and Joel Matip have played more minutes than Keita this season, a flaw the player is looking to fix in the coming weeks.
He is needed. Keita’s return has come at just the right time for Liverpool and Klopp.
Liverpool F. . C.. . , Trient Alexander-Arnold, Jürgen Klopp, Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Premier League, UEFA Champions League
World news – AU – The return of Naby Keita can be the problem for Liverpool and Jürgen Loosen Klopp
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