Naby Laye Keita joined Liverpool on 1st July 2018 in a deal that was pre-agreed a year earlier for £52.75 million add-ons including from German club RB Leipzig. His arrival received much fanfare and he was immediately handed the number 8 shirt by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard.
It is safe to say his Anfield career has not exactly panned out as everyone had hoped. This can be attributed to a multitude of factors.
Firstly, injuries have been a bane for him so far. He has missed around fifty games in total due to a variety of injury issues for Liverpool according to Transfermarkt, which certainly has not helped his development at all.
Issues ranging from ligament, ankle to the groin, and even the coronavirus have dogged him so far.
The Guinean recovers and comes back is in contention to play and then suffers another injury or setback. This has been an unfortunate pattern.
These recurrent injuries have not allowed him to get into speed once he recovers from one, which has led to manager Jurgen Klopp not picking him for the most important of games due to his lack of fitness, lack of playing consistently, and intensity, which brings us to the next point.
He has struggled to completely adapt to the Premier League’s intensity, which can be attributed to the injury issues plaguing him. He has been good whenever he plays which suggests he has the ability but not the availability.
Furthermore, Jurgen Klopp has done everything he can to manage his injuries well but the same cannot be said for his national team. Paul Put, then Guinea manager in 2019 had pressured Liverpool to release Keita to play in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations when he was injured since May 1 that year, after suffering an injury away at the Camp Nou in the Champions League. Put’s appalling management only aggravated his injuries.
It is a shame as he is a superb player on his day who can break lines and counter-press well. He was signed to add dynamism, ball-carrying ability, adding more control in the middle of the park and scoring absolute bangers to the Red’s squad.
If he does not get more injuries and gets consistent game-time he will be the player again which caused Liverpool to sign him.