Liverpool had a mixed start in defending the Premier League title with three wins and one modest defeat in their opening matches.
A great deal of excitement was understandably generated through the addition of Thiago Alcantara From Bayern Munich this summer, but the midfielder has been banned from starting for Juergen Klopp’s team after testing positive for the Coronavirus.
In his absence, it was a mix of Jorginho Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Fabinho who have played midfield roles so far this season.
Wijnaldum and Henderson auditioned and tested with the Reds, and have appeared as continuing in the starting line-up over the past two seasons as the club won home and abroad. They usually provided midfield energy while Fabinho was the anchor for the Trio when not delegated as a center back.
Thiago is likely to occupy a position at the start when regularly advancing forward when he is able, while Fabinho – who made up for injured Joel Matip and Joe Gomez against Chelsea – will play more in midfield than in defense.
And we didn’t even mention James Milner and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain yet when the former Arsenal man came back from injury.
Liverpool You have a lot of engine room options, which means Keita, Wijnaldum and Henderson will likely rotate more often in this drive.
While Reds fans know Wijnaldum and Henderson’s strengths from within, there is still a certain lack of clarity about Keita’s role.
The Guinea international has played a prominent role in each of their three league victories this season, but has neither scored nor helped. In fact, the midfielder has scored only seven goals in 65 games this season and has seen his redefined role during his time at Anfield.
Keita became known as a dynamic midfielder during his formative years in Austria and Germany, scoring 31 goals in all three seasons before moving to Anfield. Keita was seen as a direct player who could dribble, pass and shoot decisively in the final third.
However, Liverpool’s demands are different. The top three from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, along with the backs of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, mean that the midfield trio are required to stick to their positions, dismantle play, impose a coup and recycle. The ball to more serious offensive threats.
Who should start in the Liverpool midfield against Everton? Let us know in the comments
These jobs were crucial to the team’s success, even if it was unlikely to win many headlines. This is the main reason Keita has never installed himself in the starting line-up for Klopp’s side – Fabinho is a midfielder by nature and Henderson can fill in, while Keita is a less predictable player than Vinaldom who is tactically conscious and disciplined.
Keita had to adjust his playing style, as confirmed by the statistics for the first three games this season.
He also highlighted it Who scored, The Guinean has a high pass completion rate of 93.2 percent and averages 39 successful passes per match. However, he has only one “key pass” in his three matches so far and has yet to make a cross pass or even attempt a through ball in the top three.
Why should you register?
Our Anfield Analytics podcast is chaired by Josh Williams and David Alexander Hughes and is devoted to the tactical, technical and analytical aspects of everything Liverpool FC tend to drift under the radar.
By subscribing to our newsletter, you will receive approximately one email per week – for free – covering an interesting, relevant topic at the time.
Did you know anything about Kostas Tsimikas when he agreed to move to Anfield recently? If not, you have benefited from receiving our newsletter. Do you want to know more about who will face Liverpool next and how the match will start? Once again, you’ll benefit from our newsletter.
How can you subscribe?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address in the box at the top of this article and click “Subscribe”.
And that’s it, you’re all set.
Keita’s penchant for shuffle is still around. He averaged 1.3 per match compared to Henderson’s 0.6 last season.
The defensive aspect of Keita was most prominent in the first three games of the season. He played 0.7 interceptions per match, plus 0.7 clearances and one interception.
This is not the spirited, spirited and attacking player who starred in RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig, but he is a disciplined midfield player who takes less risks and adheres to coach Klopp’s instructions.
While the Reds sent in three goals on the opening day against Leeds and an unexpected seven against Aston Villa, they conceded only once against Chelsea and Arsenal – two teams aiming for fourth place this season.
At Stamford Bridge, neither Kai Havertz nor Timo Werner were allowed space or time on the ball, and the same was true of Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at Anfield.
When he plays less opposition, Klopp instructs midfielders to be more ambitious and not to stick to their positions too tightly. This changes against the bigger teams.
Keita has done an amazing job of his performance so far without making any major headlines. It might not be enough to hold his place when Thiago returns to the fold, but he is undoubtedly playing a major role with the Reds this season.
* Has Liverpool done enough in this transfer window? Take the survey and let us know if the Reds should do more Here