Naby Keïta was not only the first player to be awarded the number eight shirt worn with such distinction by Steven Gerrard, he was also perhaps the most eagerly anticipated signing of Jürgen Klopp’s reign as manager. Signed for a then-club record £52.5m in August 2017 to add quality to their midfield, it was in July 2018 when he finally arrived at Anfield, owing to an agreement with his former club RB Leipzig.
Though since then Liverpool have won the Champions League and their first Premier League title, it is only recently he has threatened to consistently perform to his best. Philippe Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona left Klopp’s midfield without his considerable abilities, and even if they are widely considered one of the world’s finest teams, if there is an area they can improve it is in midfield where, in comparison to their admired front three and defence, they remain short of quality at the highest level. Keïta, more than any other, is the obvious internal candidate to provide that quality.