Curious Keita, Fabinho’s big chance and time for Shaq attack?

We’ve just finished a gruelling period of 7 games in 23 days against quality opposition such as PSG, Chelsea and City and have come out relatively unscathed. Now we have the monotony of a two week international break but when we return to action, we have a more favourable run, at least on paper, so it’s time for our much celebrated new squad depth to step up and make their mark in my opinion.

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Naby Keita arrived to much fanfare and excitement after lighting up the Bundesliga. He looked tailor made for a Klopp team and most of us (myself included) expected him to hit the ground running. He’s failed to capitalise on a promising debut against West Ham however and in recent weeks has been underwhelming to say the least. He looks worryingly short of confidence and looked clueless positionally at times against City. I noticed him on more than one occasion looking to Robbo and Mane for advice on where he should be.

I don’t think our new found pragmatic approach is helping Keita too much either. He was signed as a brilliant presser and box to box player that loved to join in the attack but the only game he’s played in where we really played our high pressing attacking game was West Ham and he excelled. I think he’s struggling a bit being asked to play a more disciplined role. I have faith he’ll come good though but may need longer than we’d hoped to settle in.

Fabinho was our first summer signing and somewhat helped ease the pain of Kiev. Fans have been screaming out for a proper defensive midfielder for years and we’ve finally got one. As is often Klopp’s way however, he’s been slowly eased into action and is probably quite frustrated at present. He only needs to look to Robbo and Ox though, to see that Klopp probably has a plan and he’s probably right.

At Monaco, Fabinho was not only highly rated for his defensive work but also for linking the midfield to the attack, something our current midfielders have been struggling with this season and with upcoming games against Huddersfield, Cardiff and Red Star Belgrade, along with Milner picking up a hamstring injury, I’ll be astonished if we don’t see more of Fabinho in the coming weeks and like Robbo and Ox, if he grasps his opportunity, he’ll stay in the team.

Shaqiri is probably the most frustrated right now. Our front three have been in absolutely wretched form and Shaq can’t seem to get a sniff, even as a substitute when it seems the game is crying out for an injection of pace and attacking quality - like against Napoli, he’s overlooked.

The really annoying thing about it is that every time he’s played, he’s been excellent. The last decent attacking display we put in was against Southampton in the first half and Shaqiri was central to everything good we did in an attacking sense, only to be inexplicably hooked at half time at which point both teams seemed to decide that was enough for one day and neither managed to register a shot on target in the second half.

The reason Klopp gave for substituting him was he felt the midfield was too open but I feel if we had a dedicated defensive midfielder such as Fabinho, with Keita or Gini next to him, then it would allow our most attacking midfielder a little more leniency when it comes to defensive duties and against Southampton, Shaq was running riot.

In summary, our performances in recent weeks have been  in decline, the goals have dried up and we’ve looked absolutely bereft of quality at times from midfield onwards so for me, with two games against sides in the bottom three and one against a European side with a fraction of our resources, I think it’s time we see why we parted with over £100 million to bring these three players in over the summer and give them a chance to make a mark on what is looking an increasingly jaded squad.

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