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26th Jun 2018

Naby Keita makes confident request after arriving at Liverpool

Tough act to follow

Darragh Murphy

Not since a little-known player by the name of Steven Gerrard has the No 8 jersey been occupied at Liverpool.

But that’s set to change this summer as new arrival Naby Keita is expected to take over one of the Reds’ most iconic squad numbers in the coming weeks.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Keita has requested the No 8 shirt after making the switch from RB Leipzig.

The Guinea international officially becomes a Liverpool player on July 1 before joining his new teammates for the first day of preseason training on July 2.

Keita sported the No 8 jersey at Leipzig and the report claims that the 23-year-old has already been signing autographs for Liverpool fans with his expected squad number next to his signature.

Gerrard is undeniably the most beloved previous holder of the No 8 shirt on Merseyside but the likes of Stan Collymore, Emile Heskey, Steve McManaman, John Aldridge and Ian Rush have all sported the No 8 at Anfield at various stages.

Liverpool reached an agreement with Leipzig for Keita last summer but the midfielder remained with the Bundesliga outfit last season, despite Jurgen Klopp’s best attempts to rush the deal along in January.

The fee for Keita was dependent on Leipzig’s finishing position in the German top flight and Liverpool could have been forced to shell out as much as £59 million if the club had finished in the top four.

As it turns out, Leipzig ended the season in sixth spot, meaning Keita will cost Liverpool £52.75 million.