Gerard Houllier has told the Liverpool Echo that Naby Keita can become a regular under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield and even compared him to a young Steven Gerrard, despite reports the midfielder could leave.
Keita, 25, has endured a difficult couple of seasons following his move to Anfield in the summer of 2018. The Guinea captain has netted just six goals in 55 Liverpool appearances – and remains some way down the pecking order.
Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum are all considered ahead of Keita – with the Mirror recently claiming that Keita could be one of six players to leave Anfield this summer.
RedBull’s head of global football and former Liverpool boss Houllier – who initially brought Keita to RedBull Salzburg from Istres – compared him to Gerrard and suggested Keita can be a regular at Anfield.
“Keita was playing for a ‘championship’ team in France. They were struggling but he was playing everyone off the park. Like when I saw Gerrard; he was practically everywhere and his maturity was impressive,” Houllier said.
“He has a good attitude. Once he fits in the [Liverpool] team, he will stay there.”
TBR’s view – What does Keita need to do?
Consistency is missing from Keita’s performances. Yes, going in and out of the team means the former Leipzig and Salzburg ace struggles to develop any kind of momentum in a Liverpool shirt.
But when he is given the shirt, he needs to produce moments of magic to prove he can be Wijnaldum’s long-term replacement. His assist against Aston Villa was just that. More of that, and Houllier’s prediction will ring true.