Liverpool new signing Naby Keita will become the first player to wear the number eight jersey since the departure of Steven Gerrard back in 2015.
Gerrard himself presented the coveted jersey to him at Melwood after he was unveiled as a Liverpool player this week.
The Merseyside based club who were recently backed 11/2 to win the upcoming Barclays Premier League season by 10bet football betting platform made the announcement via a teaser video on their Twitter handle.
Naby Keita who was recently acquired from Bundesliga outfit Leipzig for a reported £48million will be expected to fill in the vacuum created by the former England international since his departure to the Major league side LA Galaxy in 2015. Keita on his part was astonished when Gerrard presented the jersey to him, saying, per liverpoolfc.com: “It was an incredible day for me, He gave me the number eight jersey. When it happened, it was a surprise and I did not expect it. When he came in, I looked at him and said ‘wow’ because he is a legend. He is somebody who always showed respect, who gave his all on the pitch, somebody who is loved here. If somebody like that gives you his shirt number, it’s not to play around with, it is to try and do as much as he did-that’s my motivation.”
The 23-year-old player is a central midfielder who previously plied his trade with Leipzig. Prior to his switch to the Merseyside club, Keita looked to have enjoyed his final days at the Bundesliga side with the Guinea international featuring 39 times for the German club last season. While featuring, he contributed to 16 goals with nine of his own and seven assists as Leipzig reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League while finishing sixth in the Bundesliga 2017-2018 season. The Guinea player has continued to show quality and promise in his football career dating from his early days at FC Istres in the French Ligue 2 where he scored 11 times in 23 games despite eventually suffering relegation. The footballer have also plied his trade in Austria where he featured for Red Bull Salzburg before his moved to sister club Leipzig.
Keita provides many qualities in which Jurgen Kloop craves for in his team, particularly at the middle of the park as it’s no longer news that the Merseyside outfit lacked a quality central midfielder. His adaptive nature to his environment would be key to his career in the Premier League. His flexibility and pace in the middle of the park will also provide alternative approaches for Klopp in the coming season. Keita will be expected to reduce the current burden of creativity resting on the shoulders of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah and is expected to be in a midfield combination involving captain Jordan Henderson while decision will be made between fielding Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Georginio Wijnaldum depending on the tactical approach from the Liverpool manager.