Peter Crouch hails Naby Keita’s ‘huge night’ as he stars in Liverpool win over Red Bull Salzburg

Naby Keita appears to be finding his best form again (Picture: Getty Images)

Naby Keita had a ‘huge night’ and ‘was a threat all evening’ for Liverpool as he scored in the Reds’ 2-0 win over Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League, believes former Reds striker Peter Crouch.

The 24-year-old was making just his 10th appearance of the season for Liverpool in all competitions after a groin injury earlier in the campaign.

Keita started against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, scoring his first goal of the season and now he has scored in back-to-back games after his header against the Austrian side on Tuesday night.

Crouch believes that he will be difficult to dislodge in the first team after those two fine performances over the last week.

‘A huge night for him. He’s played his way into the team with the game at Bournemouth, then deservedly so starting tonight,’ Crouch told BT Sport.

‘He’s a different player to Milner or Fabinho who at times in the first half I thought they missed.

Liverpool went on to pick up a 2-0 win after Mohamed Salah scored a second (Picture: Getty Images)

‘But Keita proved his worth tonight, he got his goal and he was a threat all evening with his passing and his route into the front three.’

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp started with Keita, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson in midfield against Salzburg, but he has a number of options available to him now.

James Milner came off the bench, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was not required on Tuesday evening and Fabinho is currently out injured but is likely to return in the new year.

Another former Liverpool striker, Michael Owen, believes Klopp now has the ability to mix and match his midfield depending on the opponent.

‘It’s nice that they’ve got a nice mixture now, he changes the way they play,’ said Owen.

‘The Ox can burst through with the ball and shoot from distance.

‘Keita can make late runs into the box, probing and getting into those pockets.

‘Then you’ve got Milner, Henderson Fabinho who can do the defensive role.’

Liverpool booked their spot in the Champions League knockout stages with the win over Salzburg, topping Group E ahead of Napoli.

The draw for the last 16 will be made next Monday when they will be given a side that finished second in their group.

The Reds are back in action in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon when they host Watford.

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