Pre-season friendlies are always worth taking with a pinch of salt, being very much training games for the coach to experiment with tactics, shape and combinations.
Regardless, a handful of Liverpool fans couldn’t help but point out up-and-down star Naby Keita’s performance in the famous red shirt against Mainz yesterday.
The Guinean was one of the standout performers from the first-half before Jurgen Klopp introduced a range of substitutions en masse.
Having been burnt before with the 26-year-old – not to forget either the nature of the game in question – it’s difficult to commit to being fully excited about the player’s potential season when injury may rule him out for at least half of it.
There is the argument to be made that Gini Wijnaldum’s departure will hand the midfielder an opening for more minutes, though it’s a problematic one for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, we at the EOTK would expect the club to invest in a new midfielder (given we lost our most durable option), and secondly, they’re fundamentally different players.
If the No.8 survives past the summer transfer window, you’d have to think it’s last chance saloon for the gifted, yet injury prone, player.
You can catch some of the fan reaction below:
Don’t mix up Keita’s quality with unavailability
— (@PassLikeThiago) July 23, 2021
I pray Naby Keita stays fit this season, such an unbelievable player would 100% start for us if he didn’t have horrible luck.
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) July 23, 2021
Naby Keïta vs Mainz, highlights and key passes pic.twitter.com/ekwN9Ckluk
— Josh (@KloppStyle) July 23, 2021
Half time. Keïta stands out for me. Nutmegged everything around him
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) July 23, 2021
Keita is ridiculous omds why does this guy have to be made outta cheerios
— ً (@3Kashaveli) July 23, 2021