When Naby Keita was signed for a big-money £48 million [BBC] move from RB Leipzig in 2018, there was a huge expectation for the Guinean talisman to be an instant hit.

It hasn’t been straight forward for the midfielder who inherited Steven Gerrard’s iconic No.8 shirt having been plagued by numerous injury setbacks that have left Keita unable to make a sustained impact in Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League-winning squad.

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Liverpool’s Guinean midfielder Naby Keita (C) watches his shot score the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on July 22, 2020. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

However, since Project Restart commenced in June, Keita has breathed new life into his Liverpool prospects. His performances have showcased a little glimpse of what the former Salzburg starlet can offer us next season if he avoids injury and is handed a sustained run in the team.

Due to injury, Keita has been able to start just 12 games across the Premier League and Champions League this season.

Keita’s urgency on the ball and ability to spread and link-up play with the front-three is a quality that we haven’t seen from Liverpool’s midfielders this season and something that could be harnessed to take us to another level next season.

In the closing stages of the 2019/20 season, Keita clocked up two assists and a goal from his final three starts of the season with his general play arguably the most encouraging aspect to come out of Liverpool post lockdown.

Keita’s performances have not gone unnoticed and have attracted the attention of German football expert Christian Falk.

Speaking on LFC Transfer Room’s official podcast, Falk talked up Keita’s recent performances in the highest esteem and made a few exciting predictions regarding next season.

He said: “I think Keita would make his breakthrough next season. I think he’s a fantastic player, I would’ve loved him at Bayern, but they were late.

 

“I think we will see a new Keita next season. Perhaps this is the best transfer you already have in your team for next year.”

The best still to come

Keita’s ability to avoid injury in the closing stages of last season could signify that with a decent pre-season under his belt, he could be the ideal player to give Liverpool an edge ahead of their title defence which is due to commence in September.

The terrifying reality is that the best is still to come from Keita. He still remains one of the few enigma’s of this record-breaking squad and if luck is on his side he could be the perfect weapon next season to aid Liverpool’s pursuit of another league title.

Keita was signed for the future and now is the ideal time for the starlet to step-up given the financial uncertainty that is likely to see little transfer activity from Liverpool’s perspective.

He may be about to begin his third full season with the Reds yet there is every belief that the 2020/21 campaign is set up for Keita to finally establish himself as a world-class player.

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