The 23-year-old has revealed how Steven Gerrard handed him the shirt upon his first visit to Melwood in August
LIVERPOOL have handed Naby Keita the prestigious No 8 jersey after the club finally unveiled the signing of the midfielder.
The Reds agreed a £48million deal with RB Leipzig in August, with the 23-year-old spending the rest of the season with the Bundesliga club.
But the Guinean international is ready to take the Premier League by storm, and has revealed how legend Steven Gerrard surprised him at Melwood last year.
Speaking to the club’s website, he said: “It was an incredible day for me. He gave me the No 8 jersey. When it happened, it was a surprise and I didn’t expect it.
“When he came in, I looked and him and said, ‘wow’ because he is a legend. He is somebody who always showed respect, who gave his all on the pitch, somebody who is loved here.
“If somebody like that gives you his shirt number, it’s not to play around with, it is to try and do as much as he did – that’s my motivation.”
The No 8 jersey had been vacant since Gerrard left the club for LA Galaxy at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Keita will likely partner Fabinho in the middle of the pitch – after the Brazilian international joined from Monaco for £44m at the end of May.
He added of his switch: “When you see how they performed last season it makes me want to do the same and to be a part of this team. I would like to be able to achieve a similar kind of season with them next season – but even better.
“I chose Liverpool because it is a team I watched often – and I also spoke a lot about it with Sadio [Mane]. He told me a lot about the team and the club.
I also spoke with the coach, who told me about the project for the team and that motivated me to be here.”
Keita spent two seasons with Leipzig after joining from sister-club Red Bull Salzburg in June 2016.
He immediately established himself as one of the top midfielder’s in Germany – helping the newly-promoted side to second spot.