Naby Keita is surely now sixth-choice in midfield for Liverpool. It’s safe to say he’s got a lot of catching up to do.
Liverpool’s last two games might be their last for a while as football faces long-term suspension. Both saw memorable, performances, though.
The win over Bournemouth featured a wonderful showing from James Milner. Playing at left-back, Milner produced a brilliant all-around game and placed himself firmly in the midfield mix.
Then, while Liverpool lost to Atletico Madrid, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stole the show before he went off. We thought it was his best game for two years, in fact, as the Englishman looked capable of everything.
The two of them will rival Fabinho for midfield spots, then, with Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson certainties.
So where does that leave Keita? The Guinean missed out in midweek and given he was in a battle for a spot anyway, looks far from the first XI.
Fabinho and Henderson are really the only ones who can reliably play the holding midfield role, so they’re set. Wijnaldum has hit incredible levels this season, so he’s a cert. Then as we say, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Milner really cemented their places in the conscious this week.
It’s difficult for Keita, then. He’s regularly struggled with injury since arriving at Liverpool for £53m and struggles for consistency. How do you fix that when you’re so far down the list?
It works in his favour that if/when the league does resume, Klopp can afford to tinker. Liverpool have nothing to play for and so the boss can try things out.
That should suit Keita as being sixth-choice doesn’t really matter with Klopp under no pressure to play his best XI. But the Guinean is playing catch-up. He’s got to take chances when he gets them because right now, his long-term future doesn’t look good.