In his latest column for Empire of the Kop, former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has expressed that this season is ‘make or break’ for Naby Keita at Anfield.
Liverpool shelled out £52.75m to bring Keita to the club, per the Independent, as part of a deal that was struck a year in advance, but the central midfielder has struggled to live up to expectations.
Keita has been hindered by constant injury troubles since he moved to Merseyside, with the knock-on effects of those fitness issues clearly making it difficult for the Guinean to build some consistency.
The midfielder started 23 times in his debut campaign, made 16 appearances from the get-go in 19/20 and was handed just nine starts by Jurgen Klopp last season.
Enrique believes that it’s now a case of ‘all or nothing’ with Keita, with the 26-year-old either showing ‘world-class’ quality this term or he’ll ‘need’ to be sold by Liverpool.
“Keita can be amazing in pre-season but then when he starts the campaign his level drops and he struggles with injury.”
“This season is make or break for him – he’s going to be a world-class player or we’ll need to sell him. All or nothing with Keita.”
Keita has had the opportunity to showcase his ability at the start of the new season, as he’s featured from the get-go in both of the Reds’ Premier League encounters, though he’ll find that much more difficult now that Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara have returned to action.
The former RB Leipzig man has shown glimpses of quality and his ability to be a driving force from the midfield at times, but nowhere near enough, which makes him a risky player for the Reds to count on.
The first step to Keita proving his price-tag and developing with Liverpool will all depend on whether he can remain fit enough to knock on the doors of the likes of Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho this term.