Football

Keita has underwhelmed Liverpool fans with his recent performances..

The Liverpool Echo have used data to analyse Naby Keita's form in the Premier League

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To say Liverpool fans were excited for the arrival of Naby Keita would be an understatement.

Having confirmed the signing a year before his actual arrival on Anfield, there was 12 months for supporters to get their hopes up and watch him thrive for RB Leipzig last season.

And it didn't take long for Keita to get fans excited with a superb showing against West Ham on the opening game of the season.

However, since that flying start to life in the Premier League, Keita has fallen off the radar somewhat and his recent displays have been a little underwhelming.

Nobody is saying that the 23-year-old is in any way flopping at Liverpool but there's an acknowledgement that he's behind a number of midfielders at the club and might be struggling out of position.

Debate about Naby Keita

As a result, there has been plenty of debate about the cause for Keita's form and fans must be wondering where those superb Bundesliga displays have gone to.

It's a question that the Liverpool Echo have tried to solve this weekend and journalist David Alexander Hughes believes he's identified the 'real problem' with Keita.

Using data collected by Wyscout - a professional scouting service used by top clubs - the Echo have formed a statistic profile of Keita at Leipzig and Liverpool.

Liverpool FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Data shows the 'real problem'

So, what's going wrong? Well, it all revolves around positioning.

The data identified that Keita's pass compilation rate dramatically improved when he was played through the centre and it also made him less likely to pass backwards.

Not only that but despite meaning he would have to play in a more defensive role, his expected goals also increased when he was playing in the middle.

His average defensive duels, inceptions and blocked shots also shot through the roof.

Wyscout used a number of case studies to exemplify their point, demonstrating how Keita has struggled out wide but has the potential to cause havoc in his preferred position.

Take a look at some of the demonstrations down below: 

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Keita's favoured position

There's too many statistics to include in our article, so all the numbers and statistics can be found here.

In summary, the more that Jurgen Klopp plays Keita out of position, the more he is failing to capitalise on an extremely exciting transfer.

There can be no hiding from the statistics and everything points towards Keita being far more effective both defensively and offensively when he's playing as a central midfielder. 

Burnley FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League

So far this season, Keita has only made six starts in his preferred position and - according to Whoscored.com - has been shifted out to left midfield and wide attacking midfielder. 

Accommodating Keita is easier said than done when Liverpool have so much talent and depth, but the 'real problem' is becoming clearer and clearer.

Liverpool fans, do you think Keita is being used incorrectly? Have your say in the comments section below.

Topics:
Football
Naby Keita
RB Leipzig
Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool

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