Analysis: Keita's growing role in Liverpool squad
(Photo via Getty Images)

Liverpool finished their Premier League-winning campaign with a 3-1 win over Newcastle to see them finish on a club record 99 points.

The match itself mattered very little to either team but an early goal to Newcastle courtesy of Dwight Gayle forced the Reds to stay focused for the remainder of the game.

They were able to find the extra gears that they needed to get to get the win. Virgil Van Dijk equalised for Liverpool in the 38th minute with his fifth header of the season. A powerful run down the right-wing by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain before providing the cross aided Liverpool’s recovery in the game.

Despite having a quiet and poor game, Divock Origi put Liverpool ahead in the 59th minute. He cut in from the left side and his curling effort found the bottom corner. That took his Premier League tally to four for the season in a generally disappointing season for the Belgian.

Sadio Mane topped Liverpool’s day with a similar goal to Origi’s. Once again the Senegalese has had a tremendous season and finished the season with 22 goals in all competitions.

He has been one of Liverpool’s best players post-lockdown alongside Naby Keita. Keita’s growth in the Liverpool side has been great and could be a factor in Jurgen Klopp not signing any midfielders in the transfer window.

 

  • Keita at the forefront of creativity

Since the restart to football, Keita has been a very influential player for Liverpool. Featuring in all the games since the restart, he has shown the best form of his Liverpool career and is now beginning to look like the player that Klopp signed.

Whilst Jordan Henderson has also been injured, he has been pivotal to Liverpool’s midfield looking sharp and creating a spark.

His close control and low centre of gravity allows him to dribble past players with ease and unlock defences. Keita’s screamer against Chelsea is proof of the growing confidence of the 25-year-old.

With his form peaking, there may now be little need to look to the transfer market for another midfielder. Liverpool have been heavily linked with Bayern Munich’s Thiago; a player who would be brought in to create chances and score goals from the midfield. However, this may not be needed if Keita can carry his form into next season, which starts in six weeks.

Whilst this is a big ask of a player who has struggled to stay fit during his time at Liverpool, should he be able to, he could break into the side with ease.

 

  • 'Naby lad' has growing role in squad

After the Chelsea game last week, the Liverpool players were finally able to get their hands on the trophy, with the Henderson shuffle back in full force as he lifted the trophy.

Many videos have been uploaded to social media with Keita in a number of them. A recurring sight is Keita smiling and laughing with the rest of the team shouting ‘Naby lad’ in the background. 

Keita is seen to enjoy the camaraderie and he too uses the saying ‘Naby lad’ as he enjoys the post-match celebrations. 

This is a fantastic example of the growth that Keita has completed and now he has a bigger say in the squad. When Keita arrived at Liverpool, he seemed shy and this was often mirrored with his performances on the pitch. Now he is much louder and confident in the squad. 

This is something that Klopp is amazing at aiding; creating the perfect harmony with his group of players and creating an environment for his players to grow as people and as footballers.

Keita now looks very settled and will be expected to have a larger say in the team next season.    

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