Revealed: Keita in line for surprise new Liverpool role v Leicester
Liverpool may field Naby Keita in a surprise new role even if Fabinho is restored to the team in what is set to be a much-changed line-up against Leicester City tomorrow.
Jurgen Klopp will be forced to ring the changes following the 1-1 draw against Man City a fortnight ago as he counts the devastating costs of the international break.
Long-term absentees Virgil Van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara are joined on the sidelines by two more long-term victims Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold as well as Jordan Henderson and Mohammed Salah.
Henderson and Salah’s absences should only be short ones, but it means Klopp will have to make at least four changes to the starting XI against leaders Leicester.
They are likely to be two in midfield and two in defence, as yet another reshuffle is forced.
Georginio Wijnaldum is set to be joined in midfield by Keita and either Curtis Jones or James Milner, with Fabinho most likely to be deployed in central defence if he returns to the XI.
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Keita has been used almost exclusively in a three-man midfield during his three seasons at Anfield and usually been the most advanced of them.
But, with Henderson sidelined and Fabinho potentially partnering Joel Matip at centre-back, the former RB Leipzig star may be pushed into a deeper role alongside Wijnaldum, especially if Jones starts ahead of Milner.
Klopp is likely to believe that Keita’s experience means he is better able to deal with defensive responsibilities and track runners than 19-year-old Jones.
The Guinea international has had his own injury difficulties once again this season.
He has had a groin injury that ruled him out of five matches after starting the first four Premier League fixtures of the season.
Potential Liverpool XI: Alisson; N Williams, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Keita, Wijnaldum, Jones; Jota, Firmino, Mane.