Liverpool player must play on Sunday if Klopp is to get his 'rhythm' wish, can repeat his starring role - RTK View


Liverpool player must play on Sunday if Klopp is to get his 'rhythm' wish, can repeat his starring role - RTK View

Naby Keita must play for Liverpool on Sunday if Jurgen Klopp wants his ‘rhythm’ wish. The Reds face Everton in the Merseyside derby.

Jurgen Klopp talked about Naby Keita in his pre-match press conference on Friday. It’s not exactly a secret that he’s a massive fan of Keita’s talent – but admits there’s always been a problem at Liverpool.

“[When] Naby was fit and Naby could get some rhythm, he was always really good,” said Klopp. “Unfortunately he could not get as much rhythm as he wished, as we wished in the past, maybe that’s over now.”

And that has quite unquestionably been the Guinean’s big problem in Red. Injuries always disrupt that rhythm; it seems that every time Keita really finds form, an injury quickly hits him.

One of the bigger reasons for that is that the player needs time to find a rhythm. He’s not someone who slots right back in after injury and starts flying – Keita requires time to get going. That doesn’t mix well with a poor injury record, though, and it means we rarely see him at his best.

But as Klopp says, that might be changing this season. Keita hasn’t had the same number of injuries this season and we’ve seen some of his absolute best performances for Liverpool as a result.

It now feels as though he’s a key part of the squad as the Reds try to win three more trophies. But with that in mind, Klopp must manage him carefully. And that means giving him a game on Sunday.

Naby Keita for Liverpool vs Everton

Liverpool have another difficult week coming up as they try to fit three games into six days. First, there’s the Merseyside derby on Sunday and then the UEFA Champions League semi-final against Villarreal on Wednesday.

Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

Unfortunately, Liverpool then take on Newcastle United in the early kick-off on Saturday. Manging fitness over this period will be tough and Klopp must rotate.

Now, we think the key fixture for Keita is the Villarreal game. He was fantastic in the first leg against Benfica last time out and Liverpool should try to find a repeat of that with him. There’s more value for Keita there than against Everton or Newcastle United, where Jordan Henderson might suit the games better.

But as Klopp says, Keita needs rhythm and that’s why he surely must play against Everton, too. That doesn’t necessarily mean a start – though, we think he might – but making sure Keita features for a good number of minutes is important.

Because if Liverpool can give him that rhythm, Keita could once again be a decisive figure in the Champions League.

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