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Naby Keita’s display for Liverpool against Tottenham showed room for improvement

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Liverpool

Naby Keita’s display for Liverpool against Tottenham showed room for improvement

It was a surprise for many when summer arrival Naby Keita was dropped as Liverpool faced Leicester before the international break, but his display against Tottenham at Wembley did little to justify his return.

The arrival from Red Bull Leipzig replaced captain Jordan Henderson in a midfield trio and whilst Keita did not perform badly, some fans will still feel that they should be expecting more from a player who the club spent so much money on after a prolonged transfer pursuit.

Whilst it may be harsh to compare his statistics against Tottenham to those against weaker opposition such as Brighton, Crystal Palace and West Ham given the quality of the opposition, some figures provide cause for concern.

“I am the sort of person who actively seeks out advice and ways I can improve myself. So every club I have been at I will sit down with the coaches and the staff, ‘What can I do? What do I need to work on to grow as a player and become better?’”

Keita has recently discussed his desire to improve.

At Wembley, Keita had his lowest pass completion ratio of the season, though it was still a respectable 85.2%, whilst making only 28 passes, less than half of his return in his three previous Premier League starts.

 

Defensively, he made fewer tackles and interceptions than in two of the three previous starts too and committed three fouls, more than in his three previous starts combined.

Whilst in possession, Keita twice lost the ball due to poor control and was dispossessed twice, again more than in all of his previous Premier League appearances for the club.

It is still early days in Keita’s Anfield career and it is clear that he has great potential. However, he is taking time to adapt despite having started very brightly. The slowing of his progress may concern some, but Keita’s attitude is the right one and he is sure to improve.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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