Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita’s impressive 13-minute cameo not only saved the Reds’ day against Manchester United, but also gave him a start in yesterday’s UEFA Champions League outing against K.R.C. Genk.
The 24-year-old Guinean footballer made the best of this opportunity by setting the record for most passes completed by any footballer in an away match this season.
His tally of 110 successful passes came with an outstanding 93% success rate. Mainly due to his unsung heroics, Liverpool could return with a 4-1 win over the Belgian side.
Keita started the game on the left flank of the midfield as Liverpool played with a 4-3-3 formation. His confidence was evident as on the 8th second of the match as Keita made an outrageous pass using his back.
After the 2nd minute goal, scored by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Belgian side tried to return into the game.
But it was Keita whose non-stop performance set the tone for Liverpool’s midfield.
His typical box-to-box play reminded all the viewers why he is so often compared to N’Golo Kante by Liverpool fans.
As time passed, Keita grew in confidence and stamped his authority on the game. If 12 recoveries showed his defensive contribution against Genk, 29 successful final third passes comment on his influence over the attacking aspect of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
It is not at all surprising that Keita finished with most successful final third passes, most ball recoveries and jointly was the most successful tackler.
Even after this fabulous performance, Keita’s place is not secure in the starting line-up against Tottenham on Sunday as he probably have to fight for a position in the midfield against Oxlade-Chamberlain, who himself finished the match with a brace.