Naby Keita names former Liverpool star as his toughest ever opponent

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: Naby Keita of Liverpool controls the ball during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on August 12, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has named former Reds favourite Xabi Alonso as his toughest ever opponent.

Keita joined Liverpool for £52.25m this summer, helping comprise part of arguably one of the club’s strongest midfields in the Premier League era.

However, the current crop still has someway to go before matching the balance of Liverpool’s old triumvirate of Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso.

And Keita has paid tribute to the latter of that trio, naming Alonso as the toughest opponent of his career after facing him during his time in the Bundesliga at RB Leipzig.

“When I used to play against Bayern, Xabi Alonso always used to give me a really hard time,” he told Liverpool’s website.

“He was so experienced, he made me suffer. The way he’d keep switching play just meant that you could never stop running.

“He was very intelligent.”