“Can be a bit wild in his play”

Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor believes Liverpool’s Naby Keita hasn’t been consistent enough to warrant a contract renewal.

The Reds recently announced Darwin Nunez’s arrival, but their midfield is an area they may have to strengthen in the coming weeks.

While the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho did well last season, it’s clear that Liverpool need a few younger players in that department.

Keita was a key cog in the Liverpool midfield last season as he made 23 appearances in the Premier League. However, he started in only 14 of them, which suggested that he wasn’t Jurgen Klopp’s preferred midfield option.

Naby Keïta vs Jude Bellingham 2021/22:14 Starts 323 Goals 31 Assists 8(Per90):1.23 Key Passes 1.13.30 Shot Creating Actions 3.162.15 Tackles Won 1.2924.7 Pressures 20.81.54 Interceptions 1.421.85 Blocks 2.067.08 Progressive Carries 5.191.15 Successful Dribbles 1.61 https://t.co/Mil20QG7QB

When asked if Keita should be given a contract extension, Agbonlahor explained that the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have stronger midfields than the Reds.

He told Football Insider:

“Not for me, no, not at all. There are so many strong midfields in the Premier League. Look at Spurs and their midfield, they’re signing [Yves] Bissouma, look at Man City’s midfield. Even Aston Villa’s midfield.

“Then you look at Liverpool’s midfield. Keita is on and off, he doesn’t score enough goals and can be a bit wild in his play. He’s not lived up to the price tag at all. I’m sure Liverpool should be looking to part ways.

“They need two top-class midfielders in there. [Jordan] Henderson is 31, he’s not going to be playing as much. Fabinho is your one starter and Thiago gets injured a lot. They need two midfielders for me. I don’t see them renewing Keita.”

Keita’s consistency could force Liverpool’s hand in the transfer market

While Keita did produce some top displays for Liverpool last season, the Reds perhaps need a player who can offer more off the ball.

The former Leipzig midfielder’s strengths are on the ball as he is good at driving forward and picking a pass in the final third. However, there are defensive deficiencies in his game that need to be improved.

The duo of Henderson and Thiago are pretty injury prone, so Liverpool may have to dip into the transfer market to find another midfielder who can do a good job.

The Reds have good depth, which they showed last season as they played every game in all four competitions they were involved in.

But perhaps a player who can challenge the trio of Henderson, Thiago and Fabinho more often than Keita might elevate the squad even more.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar

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