Naby Keita delivered his biggest moment yet in a Liverpool shirt on Saturday. The midfielder is out of contract in 2023.
Liverpool came away from St James’ Park yesterday with a 1-0 win – and what a vital win that is. The Reds picked up three points on a difficult ground, keeping up the pressure on Manchester City.
And make no mistake: this was a difficult ground. Only Liverpool had picked up more points than Newcastle United in 2022 heading into this one. There was a real chance of a slip-up.
The Reds didn’t make it easy on themselves, either. They spurned several chances to wrap the game up, allowing the Magpies to remain in the game. Fortunately, they were defensively dominant and severely limited what Eddie Howe’s side could do.
When it came to the other end of the pitch, no forward found a way through. One Liverpool player did, however – Naby Keita. He popped up with a wonderful goal, dancing past Martin Dubravka to slot home for 1-0.
And with that, Keita delivered his biggest moment yet in a Liverpool shirt.
Naby Keita saves Liverpool
Keita arrived in 2018 with a big reputation and it’s one he has never quite lived up to. We thought he’d be the star midfielder to build Liverpool around but it hasn’t really happened that way.
But Keita’s potential has always been incredibly obvious. Sometimes you see him produce a moment of magic, other times he delivers a fine performance to help Liverpool win a game. What he hasn’t really done up to now, though, is create a defining moment in a season.
But he managed that against Newcastle. Keita’s goal could end up being one of the most important goals all season, should Manchester City falter and allow Liverpool the title. Winning every game is essentially the Reds’ only chance of that title, after all.
It comes at the right moment for Keita, too. His contract expires in 2023, meaning Liverpool will almost certainly enter talks with him this summer. It makes the end of this season absolutely vital in those talks as Keita will want a contract that fits his talent, while Liverpool will want to see the value of that talent.
Goals like that against Newcastle and performances like that against Benfica are what will get Keita a prominent role at the club going forward. He’s finally showing exactly what he can do – prove decisive in the pursuit of trophies.
Klopp sees that potential. He’s described Keita as ‘amazing’ and says he’s having his best season yet. We’re inclined to agree and it seems he’s only going to get better from here. Finally, we’re getting the Keita everyone thought was arriving in 2018.