Skip to content
Premier League, meet Naby Keïta

By Sam McGuire, Football Whispers

It may have taken a little longer than Liverpool fans had anticipated but Naby Keïta has finally arrived.

He showed glimpses on his debut against West Ham United on the opening day of the Premier League campaign. But the diminutive midfielder put on a show for those away fans at Turf Moor during Wednesday's 3-1 win for the Reds.  

The level of opposition will undoubtedly be a talking point. The Clarets sit joint-bottom of the Premier League table and haven't tasted victory since September. But not many midfielders rock up and do it on a cold, wet night at Turf Moor. Let alone one supposedly still adapting to the rigours of the English top flight.

Yet Keïta did just that for Jürgen Klopp’s side. He was everywhere and he was doing everything. From blocking shots on the edge of his own penalty area to waltzing past a usually painfully organised Burnley team as if he was slaloming past cones in a training session. This was the RB Leipzig version of Keïta. The one Liverpool waited 12 months to call their own after paying $50million for the middle third dynamo.

He finished the match having completed 100 per cent of his dribbles, taken six shots and won one aerial duel. Perhaps the most impressive stat, however, was the fact he completed 93 per cent of the 59 passes he attempted.

Pass stats aren’t the be all and end all. Especially without context. But what makes Keïta stand out is just how incisive and progressive his passes were, all while failing to land just six throughout the 90 minutes.

Unlike others in the Liverpool team, he wasn’t taking the easy option. The 23-year-old wasn’t just recycling the ball and keeping play ticking over. Instead, he was looking to make things happen. More often than not, if a pass forward wasn’t on he’d carry the ball until an opportunity presented itself. That sort of player is the difference between walking away from Turf Moor with a point and returning to Merseyside with all three.

His involvement in the Liverpool opener will no doubt he overlooked. James Milner stroked the ball into the corner from 20 yards after being teed up by derby hero Divock Origi. But the pass into the Belgian was played by Keïta. Most in the same scenario would play in Alberto Moreno down the left and nine times out of a ten a cross comes in and Burnley comfortably get it away.

Instead, Keïta holds onto the ball, cuts onto his right and, despite being fronted by three Burnley players, slides the ball into Origi’s feet. The home side go from looking solid to scrambling to close down space in their own area. The player initially keeping tabs on Milner is drawn to Origi and the Liverpool No.27 is able to play a pass to the now unmarked former City man to equalize.

It wasn’t his personal standout moment from the game. That arrived when he breezed past the Burnley midfield and into space before pinging a shot goalwards from distance. Joe Hart, at full stretch, managed to divert it onto the post. But in that moment fans got to see just how explosive Keïta can be. And that was all done on his weaker, left side.

He needed to deliver a big performance upon his return to the starting XI and he did just that. The Liverpool No.8 was instrumental in the win that kept the Reds within touching distance of Manchester City at the summit of the table.

Premier League, meet Naby Keïta.

READ MORE: ALISSON IS A BARGAIN – DESPITE WORLD-RECORD FEE

 
3D4D9472-4273-4A01-937A-9A857E954453 Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. 019C7B0F-5AA9-423C-88D0-90AB2B77DE7B Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. 019C7B0F-5AA9-423C-88D0-90AB2B77DE7B Created with sketchtool. AE1CF3CF-997A-45C9-B398-081C24C2844C Created with sketchtool. 019C7B0F-5AA9-423C-88D0-90AB2B77DE7B Created with sketchtool. Icons/Arrow/1000 9C756534-D8EA-4B92-9DDD-2A3DD8CA9BB7 Created with sketchtool. ABF5B1B3-D7F2-4789-A3AE-0B4476C4FD92 Created with sketchtool. F3916FC0-768E-4027-A1D5-CC66110459CF Created with sketchtool. Icon / Social / Android@3x Created with Sketch. icon-dropdown Created with Sketch. icon-dropdown Created with Sketch. Check CB_Linked_Icon_Arrow Icon / Social / iOS@3x Created with Sketch. echllogoeps Created with Sketch. Group 18 Copy Created with Sketch. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 42E886A7-7224-4FDC-BBEB-01976002C351 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 40C8A19E-A06F-4836-ABD8-C5AE68BC33DB Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 644E21E0-3CB1-4F6B-B321-22391C0CD429 Created with sketchtool. team-logo / WIN Created with Sketch. team-logo / PW Created with Sketch. team-logo / LOST Created with Sketch. team-logo / PL Created with Sketch. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 42E886A7-7224-4FDC-BBEB-01976002C351 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 7CB4E955-9512-49F4-B03B-933CF03CA2FD Created with sketchtool. 53079FE7-D159-40A0-8A83-26281B0D3D33 Created with sketchtool. 976DC860-943B-432F-9E9C-CB9AC395B97F Created with sketchtool. 172C4F03-2B22-49FE-A880-A4C1985B19F7 Created with sketchtool. 45E49ECC-5769-44F4-97EA-EDE23E5CB428 Created with sketchtool. CC731668-0119-48B2-B401-BACA731EA471 Created with sketchtool. 0CCDF29C-1F7C-4F46-921A-EC230ACEE372 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 86A6C4DD-D877-4C22-A527-8B9666AA9DD0 Created with sketchtool. 9EE80E93-DA55-44A3-BB86-719DDC115D67 Created with sketchtool. 42E886A7-7224-4FDC-BBEB-01976002C351 Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. C38CE427-9814-4B47-91C9-66896A6EB2BE Created with sketchtool. 763B01E1-3D00-402A-B0C3-1DD729BBA531 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. 033561FA-5AC5-424E-BFCB-752595AE0B20 Created with sketchtool. Icons/Search/1000 Play Artboard 1 CB_Linked_Icon_Close CB_Linked_Icon_Close Check F896540F-C96F-4488-888D-5ECB022F43CE Created with sketchtool. CB_Linked_Icon_Arrow CB_Linked_Icon_Arrow