Liverpool‘s new centre-midfielder Naby Keïta recently opened up on his footballing career in an interview in The Guardian, offering fascinating insights into his life that will surely endear him to the Anfield faithful.
From his childhood dreams of playing for the Reds, his adoration of Steven Gerrard, and his friendship with Sadio Mané, here are three reasons Keïta appears a perfect fit for Liverpool.
The midfielder grew up wearing a Liverpool kit when playing football
During Keïta’s childhood in Guinea, he honed his skills playing football on the streets. In the interview, the midfielder said he donned the iconic Liverpool kit during these exploits.
“As a kid we used to play in the streets wearing a Liverpool shirt,” Keïta said, revealing his long-standing connection with the club. Although many new signings tend to claim they dreamed of playing for the club when they grew up, for the Guinean the statement rings true.
Steven Gerrard served as one of his footballing inspirations
Along with Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta, Keïta lists Steven Gerrard as one of his footballing inspirations. He imagined himself as the Liverpool legend when he was a youngster, and also shares Gerrard’s famed number 8.
“Because I’m a midfielder and Steven Gerrard was always the boss of the team I couldn’t be anyone else but Steven Gerrard when I played,” Keïta said.
And fittingly, Gerrard was on hand to gift the new signing his new number when Keïta officially joined Liverpool.
Keïta has a close relationship with Sadio Mané
When deciding on whether to move to Liverpool, the Guinean international said he consulted with Mané, a player he has a close relationship with. The Senegalese winger convinced Keïta to sign for the Reds, and hopefully their chemistry off the pitch will translate into goals galore for Liverpool.
“Sadio is like a brother to me. We had nine months together at Salzburg and built up a good rapport. We have been great friends since that time. He told me what a great club this was and how the team was progressing and had great potential,” Keïta said.