Jurgen Klopp will adore Naby Keita’s surprising new Liverpool rival.
Despite starting the second of Liverpool’s back-to-back friendly beside one another on Tuesday, it became evident by the end of the game that Harvey Elliott and Naby Keita may find themselves in direct rivalry this season.
The pair were picked as the two No.8s in a forward-thinking midfield as the Reds drew 1-1 with Stuttgart just a few days after a 1-1 draw with Wacker Innsbruck.
Despite just getting 30 minutes on the pitch in the second of those rushed friendlies in Austria, both players managed to make an impression in their own unique ways.
Keita, for one, demonstrated his ability to glide past players and break through lines to get near to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, like he has done in the past.
Meanwhile, Elliott demonstrated that beginning in a more center position allows him to make more hazardous defense-splitting passes since he has alternatives to his right and left.
However, if either man wants to bring such abilities to the Liverpool midfield next season, they may have to step over the other.
For openers, Jurgen Klopp’s favourite starting trio heading into the new season is Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, and Fabinho.
Following the departure of Gini Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain, there is still a desire to add another midfielder to the squad this summer.
As a result, prospects for players on the periphery to break into that engine room are likely to be limited.
After a tough first three years at Anfield, Keita will need to hope for better luck on the injury front if he is to be the one to grab any rare chances.
Elliott, on the other hand, will have to show that he can transfer the form that saw him excel in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers last season to the Premier League.
However, the apparent advantage for Klopp is that, regardless of who wins this internal fight this season, Liverpool will profit.
This type of competition for positions helps maintain high training standards and ensures that the Reds don’t skip a beat when a regular starter is injured or suspended.
It. “The summary has come to an end.”