Liverpool have faced back-to-back trips to Watford, Atletico Madrid and United in the space of eight days and have managed to pull off three hugely impressive victories and racking up 13 goals in the process.
Liverpool’s rampant 5-0 away win was a game of mixed fortunes for Naby Keïta. Naby Keita was singled out for criticism after Tuesday’s clash with Atletico Madrid despite scoring a brilliant volley in an impressive Champions League victory. The midfielder was partly at fault for both of Atletico’s goals and was taken off at half-time to heighten concerns about his defensive contributions and his place in Jurgen Klopp’s plans.
However, the midfielder had arguably one of his best games in a Liverpool shirt when the Reds demolished Manchester United 5-0 in the Premier League. Operating as the most advanced of the midfield trio, the 26-year-old put the Reds ahead with a calm finish from Mohamed Salah’s through-ball. Eight minutes later, he set up Trent Alexander-Arnold to assist Diogo Jota and later grabbed an assist himself for Salah’s first goal.
Let’s have a look at his stats so far this season:
Naby Keita played a role in three of the goals that Liverpool scored and was a huge threat to the United defence when he had the ball in his feet. He completed 30 passes in the game with a passing accuracy of 93.33% and had a high expected threat of 0.428. Naby Keita is most effective for the Liverpool squad when he has the ball at his feet and has lesser defensive work to do. He is better off in the final third of the pitch and can be a bit sloppy while defending.
Keita completed 30 passes in the game and had the highest threat from the passes he made to Mo Salah. He completed six passes to Salah and had an xT of 0.354. Keita was calm and composed on the ball and did not try and make any flashy passes. He kept his game simple and tried to look for the simple pass next to him.
Naby Keita has made six appearances for Liverpool in the Premier League so far and has produced some impressive numbers in these six games. Out of these six matches, Keita has played only one match for the full 90 minutes and was subbed on for two games. He has an expected assist of 0.26 per 90 minutes and lies in the 94th percentile for the same. Keita has attempted 1.74 smart passes and 1.98 through passes per 90 minutes. Keita has the vision to spot the runs made by his attackers behind the defenders and also possesses the ability to make that pass. Despite playing for a limited number of minutes, Keita has shown his potential to dominate the midfield and can prove to be a vital resource for Klopp going forward into the season. Klopp has been rotating his squad quite a lot this year, taking full advantage of the depth he has in all three parts of the field. Keita will be getting enough chances to showcase his class in the upcoming games.
Having endured a goalless 2020/21 season, Keita has already scored three times this campaign and regardless of supposed defensive vulnerabilities, his contributions on the front foot are vital for Liverpool. Liverpool remain unbeaten in 2021-22 and have won 10 of their 13 games across all competitions while scoring 41 times. Overall, the Reds have gone 22 matches without defeat since early April and their run of 19 Premier League outings without losing is the longest ongoing sequence in English football’s top four divisions.