Xabi Alonso recalls competing with a ‘big personality’ when he played against Naby Keita, who he expects to thrive under the tutelage of Jürgen Klopp.
Keita will officially become a Liverpool player on Sunday after a deal was agreed to bring him to Anfield from RB Leipzig last summer.
Former Reds playmaker Alonso opposed the Guinea international twice while representing Bayern Munich during 2016-17 - the final season of his glittering playing career.
And the World Cup winner believes Keita - who was presented with Liverpool's No.8 jersey by its previous incumbent, Steven Gerrard - will prove to be an astute signing by Klopp.
“He’s a big personality. He has the hunger, the will to compete, and after in football terms he’s an all-round midfielder,” Alonso informed Liverpoolfc.com, regarding his memories of facing-off with Keita in the Bundesliga.
“[He’s] Good with the ball, he runs and dribbles very quickly with the ball, but he also likes to make things tick in the midfield.
“I think for this position in front of the holding midfielder, or even as a holding midfielder [or] close to the front three, he can have that role to find the space and to be up there. So [he’s a] good signing.
“He will have to adapt to the idea [of Klopp’s philosophy], but I don’t think that he will have many problems because he’s a great player and very complete.
“[Under] Jürgen you need to do [play like] ‘bang, bang, bang’ and if he gets it, he will do well.”
Keita leaves Leipzig having forged a reputation as one of Europe’s most dynamic midfielders over the course of his two seasons in Germany.
The 23-year-old featured in a number of different midfield positions for Ralf Rangnick’s team, but Alonso thinks he is best equipped to fulfil the role associated with his squad number at Liverpool.
“[I see him as] An eight. I would say an eight,” the Spaniard said.
“Sometimes he can play as a six, but I could see him more as an eight behind the three strikers.”