Pundit: Liverpool already have next Wijnaldum at Anfield after what I've seen
Paul Robinson has suggested Liverpool already have a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum in the shape of Naby Keita.
The former England goalkeeper, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, hailed the 26-year-old’s increased importance to the team since the Dutchman’s departure.
Keita made just 16 appearances last season, while Wijnaldum, 30, made 51 across all competitions.
The Netherlands international joined PSG on a free transfer this summer, leaving a void in the Reds’ midfield.
Keita has started seven times in nine appearances this term, including in Sunday’s 5-0 win over Manchester United.
He opened the scoring for Jurgen Klopp’s men but was stretchered off after a dangerous tackle from Paul Pogba.
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Robinson admitted Wijnaldum’s departure has given Keita a shot at nailing down a spot in the Liverpool starting XI.
He suggested the Guinea international has filled his former teammate’s boots well so far.
Robinson told Football Insider’s Dylan Childs: “He’s taken on a role this season he didn’t have last year. Wijnaldum played a lot of the games but he’s at a point where he’s going to get more game time.
“The three in midfield, with Milner and Henderson, their combined ages would suggest they’re not going to be able to play 60 games each this year.
“It’s going to be a squad game for Liverpool this year and it’s a role Keita’s going to have to take. To take on the mantle of Wijnaldum and what he did last year.
“Based on Sunday’s performance, as long he’s not injured for any length of time, he can do that.”
Keita has played a total of 85 times and scored 10 goals for Liverpool to date.