Jurgen Klopp took a big gamble with his team selection against Burnley on Wednesday night.
Because Manchester City are playing so well at the moment and sealed yet another victory away at Watford on Tuesday to temporarily extend their lead at the top of the table, Liverpool simply couldn’t afford to slip up against the struggling Clarets at Turf Moor.
Out went the likes of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane and in came Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Naby Keita.
The gamble threatened to backfire on Klopp when Jack Cork put the home side 1-0 up early in the second half.
However, Liverpool sealed all three points thanks to goals from James Milner, substitute Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri before full time. This was a hugely important win for the Reds.
Arguably the game’s standout performer, though, was Keita.
The Guinean midfielder has found starts hard to come by since completing his £52.75 million move to Anfield from RB Leipzig in the summer - partly because of injuries - but completed 90 minutes in a Premier League fixture for only the second time against Sean Dyche’s men.
Liverpool fans have been waiting patiently to see Keita at his best and the 23-year-old did not disappoint in this match.
The Anfield faithful were full of praise for Keita, who was handed an 8/10 rating by the Liverpool Echo, with many of them taking to social media to suggest he should now be starting every week (check out those tweets HERE).
The game wasn’t televised live in the UK but video footage has now emerged showing Keita’s individual highlights from the match - and it shows Liverpool have signed a diamond.
Check out part one here…
And here’s part two…
The lad’s the real deal, alright.
What stands out most is how much dynamism he brings to Liverpool’s midfield; he was absolutely everywhere.
This is a midfielder who appears to have everything in his locker: he can tackle, he can run with the ball, he can pick a pass and he gets himself into goalscoring positions.
Indeed, Keita was rather unfortunate not to open his account for Liverpool at Turf Moor.
It was an all-round superb performance and Liverpool fans are right to be very optimistic for the future with him in their midfield.
“We used him well at the beginning and at the end, but in between I was shouting that we had to use Naby (more),” Klopp told reporters after the match, per the Liverpool Echo.
“We played long balls, big switch, and Naby was constantly overlooked.
“He was good. Even in the first half, when Naby had the ball something changed a bit.
“Naby made all the difference, I think his blocked shot was the biggest chance we had in the first half. It looked like a proper chance. Second half, one-two with Mo, good finish, bit lucky for Burnley.”