Naby Keita’s first season at Liverpool hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped.
The Guinean midfielder made a positive start to his Anfield career but he’s failed to cement a spot in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up.
An injury suffered on international duty in October didn’t help Keita in his attempts to adjust to the Premier League but performances since then haven’t been consistent.
His latest outing came on Saturday in Liverpool’s 4-3 win against Crystal Palace.
The Liverpool Echo graded his display five out of 10, the lowest of any Liverpool starter, writing: “Showed promise with some early touches but, not helped by being on the left, faded badly then disappeared completely on being substituted.”
And Daily Mail journalist Dominic King believes it was concerning to see both Klopp and Virgil van Dijk gesturing for Keita to step it up during the first half.
“More concerning were the gestures from Klopp and Van Dijk, at different points in the first half, telling him to impose himself on the contest. The inference was clear: do not wait for things to happen,” King wrote.
Robertson also spoke to Keita
Liverpool’s Inside Anfield series shows that Klopp and Van Dijk weren’t the only ones to send Keita a message; left-back Andy Robertson did, too.
Just as the players prepared to go out for the second half, Robertson pulled the midfielder towards him and began instructing him.
While we can’t hear what Robertson has to say, he seems to be telling Keita to up the tempo and get involved more.
Click HERE to watch Liverpool's latest episode of Inside Anfield.
So that’s Klopp, Van Dijk and Robertson all with something to say to Keita. Not good.
The 23-year-old will be given time to find the level that saw Liverpool pay RB Leipzig £48 million for him; it’s too early to judge him just yet.
But you have to wonder whether Klopp believes he can trust Keita as the business end of the season approaches.