Naby Keita produced arguably his brightest performance in a Liverpool shirt in Sunday’s International Champions Cup defeat to Borussia Dortmund.
The summer signing asserted a striking supremacy in all areas of the game after being introduced as one of eight half-time changes made by Jurgen Klopp.
A wicked anticipation to his high-press has emerged as a familiar trait so far this pre-season and was evident from the start as he penned in a Dortmund defence visibly well-cultured in playing out from the back.
Even the Bundesliga side’s impressive efforts to breach the press struggled to withstand Keita’s intensity as he invited Liverpool’s front three to prepare their runs with the expectation that he would win the ball back.
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One occasion saw Keita snatch possession back just inside Dortmund’s half before feeding the movement of Daniel Sturridge, who proceeded to trick his way beyond three markers on the edge of the box. It marked one of numerous signs of a blossoming understanding between the pair, with Keita having also assisted Sturridge’s goal against Blackburn last week.
Keita also displayed a tendency to direct his bursting runs between the lines down the left-hand side of the pitch, as well as regularly cropping up on the left-hand side of the box and working with Alberto Moreno. In doing so, he previewed a key partnership with close friend Sadio Mane as a supplier to his movement over the top and overlapping support capable of inviting the Senegal star onto his right foot.
Besides offering a forward-thinking urgency as a midfield pivot, Keita also reminded all of his attacking ambition with late runs into the box.
Here’s a look at his best bits on the day…
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