1 July will see the official transfer of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig to Liverpool. The 23-year-old has already made waves at the Melwood training centre, having arrived today for training, a full week ahead of schedule.
The new Liverpool midfielder has been honoured by being allocated the iconic number 8 jersey that Steven Gerrard left vacant when he moved to LA Galaxy in May 2015.
Keita was presented with the shirt by the Liverpool legend himself last August after Liverpool agreed the deal for the midfielder’s services.
“It was an incredible day for me.” 🔴
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) June 27, 2018
He told Liverpoolfc.com:
“It was an incredible day for me. He gave me the No.8 jersey. When it happened, it was a surprise and I didn’t 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.”
Liverpool fans will hope that Keita can bring back some of the solidity and inspiration that Gerrard brought to the club, in what is shaping up to be an exciting midfield for the 2018/19 season.
Keita will be joining Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, while Emre Cans exit to Juventus will create the space for Keita to slot into the squad.
For Liverpool fans this will hopefully mean a revival of the midfield that, without Phillipe Coutinho and injured Oxlaide-Chamberlain, has put slightly more pressure on the front three.
All in all, Keita will be bringing a fresh new look to a Liverpool team that will be looking to build on the successes of the last season.