Former Premier League attacker Kevin Phillips has signalled his support for Naby Keita by claiming that the midfielder could one day flourish for Liverpool.
The 1999/2000 European Golden Boot winner admitted to Football Insider that he believes the former RB Leipzig star needs a run of games to get his confidence and form back that made Keita one of Liverpool’s most expensive signings in club history.
The Reds signed the midfielder from the Bundesliga side in the summer of 2017 for a then club-record fee of £48m according to BBC Sport, yet since his arrival to Anfield a year later, Keita has done little to warrant the money Liverpool spent on the 25-year-old, with the Guinea international playing just 368 minutes of league football this season.
Will Naby Keita leave Liverpool in the summer?
Injury problems have been a major issue for Keita as records from Transfermarkt show, yet Phillips believes that the former Bundesliga star has what it takes to claw his way back into the Liverpool first-team, and warrant the money the Reds shelled out for the midfielder three years ago.
Phillips said: “It has been frustrating for Keita. He has been a bit-part player and that is always hard. He has qualities but it is hard when you play one or two games at a time. With (Georginio) Wijnaldum, (Jordan) Henderson and Fabinho in there, it is always going to be difficult because these are really consistent players.
“I would like to see him stay. You need to give him a run of games, you look at Fred at United now. He is playing week in, week out and needed time to settle. I know Jordan has had a few injury problems this year so next year he might get a chance. I would be in no rush to get rid of him if I was Klopp.”
With Bild reporting that Leipzig won’t be making a swoop for Keita in the transfer window, the midfielder could find himself fighting his way into Jurgen Klopp’s midfield three for next season, and at just 25, the African star has the potential to truly make a mark in the Liverpool team if he can shake off his injury problems and try his best to prove his worth for the Merseyside club.