Graeme Souness believes Jurgen Klopp may already view Naby Keita as Jordan Henderson’s natural successor in the Liverpool midfield. The Guinea international was in red hot form last night as the Premier League champions finally got their hands on the trophy.
The £52million signing from RB Leipzig has only demonstrated his enormous potential in patches since arriving in the summer of 2018.
While there have been some fine performances since the start of lockdown, last night was arguably his greatest showing in a red shirt.
He opened the scoring against Chelsea, firing a thunderbolt in off the underside of the crossbar.
Now the real challenge for Keita is to establish himself as a regular starter in the side next season.
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Leadership qualities aside, Souness believes the 25-year-old will be the man Klopp eventually favours over Henderson.
“He’s been integral hasn’t he, he’s driven them on when they’ve looked like they’ve been slacking a bit,” Souness said.
“He’s had a remarkable season, in the long-term, I think he sees Keita as a natural successor to him.
“So it’s interesting, next year will be an interesting watch in that midfield area.”
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When asked how Liverpool will maintain their sky-high standards, Klopp claimed he expects big things from Keita and Curtis Jones next season.
“We will not stop. We will not stop. We have challenges, internal challenges; we can obviously improve each player,” he said.
“But with the changes, not only Curtis, but Naby played pretty much only the last part of the season. And how he played… unbelievable.
“So we have the chance to make another step, but we have to because the others will not sleep.
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“Chelsea is such a talented team, good football, and we had to give everything on the pitch tonight.
“Then all the others, Man United, Man City anyway, so there are no guarantees for anything, but we will try.”
Competition for places in Liverpool’s midfield has never been higher.
Thiago Alcantara has also been linked with a move to Anfield but that’s unlikely to happen unless Gini Wijnaldum departs.
Jones is expected to fill the void of Adam Lallana, whose contract will expire at the end of the season.
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