By Muambo Edward
Football Writer, kick442.com – Cameroon
25-year-old Guinean midfielder Naby Laye Keita joint Liverpool in 2018 from German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, with a lot of expectations.
The native of Conakry was handed the mythic number 8 jersey left by club legend and inspirational leader Steven Gerrard.
Many saw this as an extra weight on the shoulders of the Guinean who joint the Reds after they triggered his £48million release clause and accepted to pay an additional undisclosed premium. Many Liverpool fans questioned the huge sum of money splashed out for the former FC Istres midfielder.
Keita has gone on to make 34 Premier League appearances for Liverpool since then, scoring three goals.
He helped Liverpool to UEFA Champions League glory and to a FIFA Club World Cup win in 2019.
However, his individual contributions have been judged as insufficient by some Liverpool fans, but former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol thinks it’s too early to call the Guinean a flop.
“Yes I think it is [early to call him a flop],” Nicol told ESPN FC.
“I think because of the strength in depth Klopp’s got in the middle of the midfield, when Naby Keita initially came and didn’t settle very quickly, then you don’t play him because you can play other players.
“Certain teams can bring a player in and even though they are not hitting the heights they thought, they have to stick with them and they have to give them time.
“So I think Naby Keita, yes he hasn’t lived up to what we thought he could be just yet, I think he still can, but he will certainly need more time.
“So I am not ready to call him a flop yet.”
Steve Nicol played 343 league games for Liverpool from 1981 to 1994, scoring 37 goals. The Scot is a Liverpool cult hero.
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