Naby Keita is Liverpool’s most creative player

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita is Jurgen Klopp’s most creative player in the Premier League.

The Guinea international has been a divisive figure among some Liverpool fans, but could he be underrated in one key metric?

Naby Keita has struggled to earn a regular run of football under Jurgen Klopp, who has preferred a three of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.

But according to Understat, the former RB Leipzig man is the most creative player in the squad and can boast the highest number of expected assists (xA) per 90 minutes.

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With an xA90 of 0.39, the 25-year-old has a better rating than Trent Alexander-Arnold (0.39) and Mohamed Salah (0.29).

With only one assists from 358 Premier League minutes, Keita doesn’t have stats that are initially eye-catching. But perhaps those numbers indicate Liverpool are being wasteful in possession and that Naby is bearing the brunt of it.

One of the most wasteful players in the Liverpool squad is Roberto Firmino, who has scored an incredible seven goals fewer than he should have this season.

His progress under Klopp has been stunted by a poor injury record and the inability to grab chances when they are handed to him.

Towards the back end of the season Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain overtook Keita in the pecking order, but would this data change things?

Maybe not.

Keita is seventh in the list of xA, even behind Henderson – who has five this season but is slightly ahead of his curve as the data shows the former Sunderland man should be on three.

This COVID-19 break might allow him some time to return to fitness and clear out those niggles, which could let him get back into the squad and have a decent crack at building up some momentum.

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If we finally get to see the best of Keita, we could see those numbers go through the roof because there’s a hell of a player in there waiting to be unlocked.



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