Liverpool reportedly wanted Houssem Aouar in the transfer window but Naby Keita may mean they don’t need him. The midfielder is impressing in recent games.
The Aouar plan
The original plan this summer was to sign Timo Werner and Houssem Aouar, according to the Mirror. Plans change, of course – particularly under a global economic collapse.
Liverpool now look unlikely to spend any significant money, pulling out of a deal for Werner. Given that Aouar would reportedly cost £45m – per ESPN – we can fairly safely say they won’t move for him, either.
That’s despite Lyon looking to sell, as per that same ESPN report. The Reds had a real shot at getting the Frenchman, it seems, but circumstances dictate that we almost certainly won’t see Aouar at Anfield.
But recent games suggest he’s simply not needed.
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Keita keeps improving
Keita has had a strange season. There have been spells where he’s looked on the cusp of something very special but often follows them up with injuries or months of flat football.
These last two games, however, have Keita looking like the creative midfielder Liverpool wanted.
Take the Aston Villa game, for starters. Keita got the assist for the opener, finding space in the box and picking out Sadio Mane. But his stats (per Whoscored) show he was one of the more creative players on the pitch.
His two successful dribbles were as many as anyone in the Liverpool team, while he also managed two key passes. Only Mohamed Salah bettered that with three.
The Brighton game was the real suggestion that Keita can be a creative force, though.
Keita completed three dribbles in that game, more than anyone else in red. He also made four key passes – twice as many as any other starter. Only Andy Robertson matched that (impressively so, given he only played the second half).
But Keita was more than just a creative force as he played the exact game Liverpool want from their attacking midfielders. He pressed like mad from kickoff, getting in the box to register an assist for the first goal just six minutes in.
Keita also won the ball back for Liverpool’s second two minutes later. That’s the performance Jurgen Klopp wants – a player pushing the team forward both defensively and offensively, creating chances in both senses.
If Keita keeps this up, he’ll be exactly what Liverpool need, leaving no need to look to the transfer window. Aouar may have been the plan this summer but for next season, it should be to go all-in on Keita.