Football is all about anticipation. You need to anticipate what your opponent is about to do, you need to anticipate what your teammate is about to do. When two players are able to anticipate each other’s movements consistently they strike up a partnership, these partnerships are crucial to a team’s success. Next season we could see the partnership between Naby Keita and Mo Salah drive Liverpool’s title defence.
In December we saw the advent of a partnership which could become one of Liverpool’s most important going forward.
In the final month of last year Naby Keita scored three times with two of those goals assisted by Mo Salah.
Salah himself bagged four with one of those goals assisted by the Guinean midfielder.
Liverpool broke their club record transfer fee when they paid RB Leipzig £48m for Naby Keita in 2017. The Reds made one of the best value for money signings of recent times when they paid Roma £34m for Salah.
The pair cost a combined £82m and it is fair to say that one half of the duo started paying back their transfer fee quicker than the other.
Although a centre midfielder and a right winger aren’t typically considered a partnership, given the fluidity of movement in this Liverpool team they are often found together in the final third, firing passes into each other in and around the box.
Naby Keita is finally hitting his best form at Liverpool having been able to stay fit for an extended sequence of games for the first time since he arrived in 2018.
Given that we saw just what can happen in December we can expect even more of the same if Naby Lad can stay fit for the next campaign. Since the restart we have already seen their linkup play in action with Keita assisting Salah at Brighton.
The most important part of this linkup is that the pair get the best out of each other. When the Reds signed Keita they were singing him not just for his defensive and passing qualities but also for his ability to chip in with a goal; the fact that Mo can read Naby’s attacking game is crucial.
Keeping the pair fit and in the team together could mean the 2020/21 title defence being driven by a traditionally unlikely partnership, injuries permitting we could be in for something special.