New £48million signing stepping into huge shoes as he finally completes move to Anfield
Naby Keita is coming for Steven Gerrard’s iconic number eight shirt as he finally completes his move to Liverpool this week.
No Reds player has worn the shirt since legendary captain Gerrard departed for LA Galaxy in 2015 but Keita, who like Gerrard plays in a box-to-box midfield role and wore eight for former club RB Leipzig, has his sights set on it.
Gerrard, the newly-minted Rangers boss, took the shirt ahead of the 2004-05 season and made 470 of his 710 Liverpool appearances wearing eight.
Previous wearers of the famous shirt include Stan Collymore, Ray Houghton and Sammy Lee, and according to the Liverpool Echo, Keita will be next on the list.
Keita, 23, arrived on Merseyside for the first time last week and allegedly signed autographs for fans with the number eight.
The Guinean midfielder’s £48million transfer from Leipzig was agreed last summer, and is set to be completed this week.
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In the immediate term, Keita will fill the gap left by the departing Emre Can, who is set to join Juventus on a four-year deal at the end of the month after his Liverpool contract expired.
Keita is joined in the Anfield arrivals lounge by fellow midfielder Fabinho, who signed in a £40m deal from Monaco on May 29.
At Leipzig last season, Keita could only manage a sixth-placed finish in the Bundesliga, making 39 appearances and scoring nine goals in all competitions.
His disciplinary record will be a concern however, having picked up four red cards last season, which Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be keen to eradicate as soon as possible.