It was a deserved fifth consecutive Premier League start for Naby Keita, the longest since arriving at the club three seasons ago.
Keita, 25, is certainly reaping the rewards in this high intensity and irrepressible Liverpool outfit who have maintained their 100 per cent start to the season.
Outstanding Naby Keita
It’s vindication to the trust and faith Jurgen Klopp has maintained in a player who seemingly benefits from a longer run in the team and thrives with momentum on his side.
With Fabinho the defensive anchor in midfield, and Gini Wijnaldum selflessly performing in the box-to-box style role, Keïta was handed the freedom of the middle of the park and was handed the task of taking the match to Arsenal.
He certainly did that, to say the least as Keita, alongside Roberto Firmino led Liverpool’s press out of possession and persistently hounded down Arsenal bodies in an attempt to get the Reds back on the front foot.
As a unit, the midfield trident were exemplary both on and off the ball, allaying any previous concerns that Liverpool would suffer without the presence of both Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcântara.
Keita – who currently earns £120,000-a-week according to Spotrac – persistently looked to break up counter attacks or set up the front three for a move forward. It was a complete performance and the Guinean talisman is gradually becoming one of Liverpool’s most important players.
He took two shots of which none were on target, played one key pass, had a pass accuracy of 98% – higher than any other Liverpool player, took 56 touches, attempted one dribble, and put in two crosses according to WhoScored.
The Liverpool machine rolls on
Perhaps the only legitimate complaint of an otherwise complete performance, would be aimed at the fact that Liverpool failed to kill the game off before the 88th minute, spurning multiple opportunities to reduce any hope Arsenal had of salvaging an undeserved point from the home of the Premier League champions.
It was such, that Liverpool were even indebted to goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who twice denied Alexandre Lacazette with his hulking physique to keep the Reds ahead in crucial moments during the second half.
Despite, the nervy finale, It was the very least Liverpool deserved as they laid down their biggest marker of the season to date. The winning-machine that is Klopp’s ‘mentality monster’ continue to drive to new unprecedented levels of consistency.
The only downside is we now have to wait until Thursday to see them in action again. On nights like this, it’s important to reflect just how lucky we are to be in the presence of such greatness.
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