Virgil van Dijk has given his personal opinion on ‘unlucky’ teammate Naby Keita. The duo have played two seasons together.
“Naby is a fantastic guy, he works so hard and he is an outstanding football player,” Van Dijk told the official club site. “We see it week in and week out. He has unfortunately been unlucky with some injuries, but hopefully, he can stay fully fit for the next season.”
Keita only started 12 games across the Premier League and Champions League this season. And Van Dijk is right – that’s largely down to injuries. The Guinean picked up five injuries, per Transfermarkt, that consistently interrupted his season.
Van Dijk believes that Keita is a truly elite player, however, particularly with his intelligence on the ball.
“I think he is world-class if I’m absolutely honest. I see all the moments when he has the ball, the smart moves, the smart intelligence. It’s just incredible to see and I’m very happy for him.”
What RTK has to say
Van Dijk is essentially describing the player Liverpool thought they were getting two years ago. Keita appeared to be a very exciting, forward-thinking and versatile midfielder at RB Leipzig – exactly what the Reds needed.
But he hasn’t delivered that over the last two years. Injuries have played a huge part, of course, but he’s often looked uncomfortable in the side.
Since the restart, however, Keita has looked very good. He grabbed two assists and a goal from his final three starts of the season and just generally played very well.
The hope, then, is that he’s finally settled at Liverpool. Van Dijk believes he sees a world-class player in training every day and we’re beginning to see that translate to matches.
If Keita can push on and do just that, next season will be massive.