LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Everton won 2-0, the club’s first win at Anfield since 1999. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool fans are ready to “get invested” in “baller” Naby Keita again

With Naby Keita catching the eye in Liverpool’s 1-0 friendly win over Mainz on Friday evening, fans are hoping the No. 8 can stay fit heading into the new campaign.

Jurgen Klopp named arguably his strongest available side as the Reds took on his old club in Grodig, with Ibrahima Konate partnering Joel Matip at the back.

Harvey Elliott kept his place in midfield as part of an experienced lineup as he joined James Milner and Naby Keita in a three-man unit, just as he did against Stuttgart in midweek.

The game was ultimately decided by a late own goal after Klopp made 11 changes at half-time, but much of the focus was on an impressive showing from Keita once again.

It has been a bitter time for the No. 8 since joining Liverpool from RB Leipzig, with Keita clearly a hugely talented player but one who is unable to string together a consistent run of games due to injury.

Often he has stood out in pre-season only to have his momentum halted when the campaign gets underway, and fans are hoping this is not the case again in 2021/22.

It is a difficult situation for Keita, because when fit he would certainly be challenging for a first-choice spot in Klopp’s midfield, but the regularity of his injury problems makes him hugely unreliable.

The opportunity to get back up to speed with pre-season is vital this summer, particularly as Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson are all set to return late and could be doubts for the Premier League opener at Norwich.

With Gini Wijnaldum having left to join PSG, Klopp will be looking for another top-class midfielder to rely upon – and in an ideal world, that would be Keita.