Should Naby Keita start at Watford or wait for PSG & Everton? – Liverpool fans have their say

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With Naby Keita returning from injury ahead of another busy run of fixtures for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has a big call to make on his place in the side.

Klopp was vocal in his support of Keita’s call-up to the Guinea squad for the November international break, despite the midfielder’s recent lack of minutes.

The 23-year-old made a stoppage-time cameo in the 2-0 win over Fulham last time out, having spent the previous five games on the sidelines after hamstring problems.

But after playing the full 90 as the Syli Nationale marked qualification for next summer’s Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-1 draw with the Ivory Coast, he should be fit to start.

Whether that should come in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford is up for debate, however, with Liverpool heading to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League four days later.

And with that trip to Parc des Princes followed by the Merseyside derby at Anfield four days after that, it could be that Keita is reserved.

This is Anfield posed the question on our Facebook page on Monday, with 14,700 supporters having their say:

A resounding 80 percent want to see Keita return to action from kickoff at Vicarage Road, in what would be his first start for Liverpool since the 1-0 loss at Napoli on October 3.

Klopp is certainly not short of options in the middle of the park, with the likes of Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner all available, though Jordan Henderson missed England’s last clash of the break as a precaution.

Reds supporter Alex Whittley believes it is “time to give him a run of games [to] see what he’s made of,” with Finbarr Lanre agreeing, writing “you better keep starting him until he adjusts and gets better.”

“[We] need a creative spark in midfield. Would have him and Shaq with Gini behind,” agreed Jamie Downward, while Tinashe Tembani added “if he’s playing our team attacks regularly.”

However, Dave Wood hinted that Saturday may be the wrong challenge for his first start back, writing “Watford are a team of giants so he’ll have to be physically ready.”

Andrew Scharschmidt furthered this point: “Wouldn’t start him against Watford. Maybe give him 15-20 mins to get into the swing of things then start him against PSG!”

BLACKBURN, ENGLAND - Thursday, July 19, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk share a joke after a preseason friendly match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Liverpool FC at Ewood Park. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

If Keita does start at Watford, it could be that he is then brought off in the second half—for, say, Milner or Henderson—with a view to building his fitness over back-to-back appearances.

With Liverpool having spent £52.75 million to bring him to Anfield from RB Leipzig there is clearly belief he can fire once settling.

Unfortunately, injury issues have not allowed him to do so until now, but with Burnley (Dec 5) and Bournemouth (Dec 8) both to come within two weeks of Saturday, he can now aim for top form.

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