Naby Keita, Qu’est-ce que c’est?
That’s three points for the manager right there.
He can take them home and cuddle them to sleep tonight. He’s earned it. He targeted this game as the one where he could rest the big men and get some minutes in the legs for those who need it and he got it spot on.
One man in particular more than played his part. We finally got to see the Keita we thought we signed tonight. He was exceptional. In the first half he was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch, even Joe Hart. The speed he moves at with the ball is insane at times. He has the ability to inject life into a game when it’s needed which is what impressed me most in the first 45. Liverpool are knocking the ball around in front of Burnley, causing them few problems when the ball comes to Naby and we’re all reminded there’s a game to be won here. He carries it with pace, forcing them to retreat and moving us up the pitch.
This was evident in the build up to our first goal. As soon as he picks it up, Burnley fall back. He’s given so much room to run, as the Clarets are clearly intimidated from his first half performance. The ball he fizzed into Origi was sublime also. Origi gets the space to release Milner because of Keita’s quick thinking and ability to act on it with the pass.
It was an all-round flawless display from the Guinea International, his best yet in a Liverpool shirt. The midfield in general put in an incredible performance in response to their criticism of late, with Henderson and Milner both shining also. Liverpool showed glimpses of last season with really quick attacking play in bursts and in the right areas in an attempt to pick off a tiring Burnley in the second half, Keita was key to this with an impeccable touch and awareness and he was unlucky when he almost opened the scoring with a wonderful strike for Liverpool but was thwarted by a remarkable save onto the post from Hart.
Those 15 minutes after the break Liverpool were very impressive, I felt, with Burnley’s goal minutes later coming against the run of the play. Nevertheless, the Reds showed their grit to fight back their momentum and patiently force Burnley open with Milner’s low finish just 8 minutes after the opener while Firmino and Salah were still warming up.
This victory is huge. It proves to us and the players that the manager knows what he’s doing. Maybe next time he decides to rest a few, we manage to keep our heads if it’s level at the break. Here’s hoping anyway.
The Reds bring the white kit to the South Coast next as Bournemouth attempt to be the first team in the country to beat us, in the league anyway.
May we brush them aside like all the rest.