Michael Owen has criticized performance put in by star midfielder.
The Reds, however, advanced to the semifinals after winning the tie 6-4 on aggregate.
Jurgen Klopp decided to make seven changes for their second leg tie against Benfica as the Reds are due to face Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals on Saturday.
Naby Keita started in midfield alongside James Milner and Jordan Henderson.
Michael Owen has blamed Keita for two of the goals Liverpool conceded against Benfica. The former player-turned-pundit stated that the 27-year-old midfielder left space behind him resulting in the goals.
Speaking on BT Sport (via The Boot Room), Michael Owen was quoted as saying the following:
“He did this twice, it’s the second time he goes wandering. He doesn’t need to move, he’s protecting areas. And he almost vacates, Naby Keita, vacates the hole. And all of a sudden then, you’ve got two players [in the middle] that really is his area. You can’t vacate that.”
“And all of a sudden, they get turned and they’re in trouble. They’re running back to their own goal, and it’s 3-2. So I think Keita was at fault for the first one and then again for the second one, doing a similar thing.”
Naby Keita has once again had an injury-hit season at Anfield. However, the Guinean midfielder has shown promising signs whenever he has been called upon in the starting lineup by manager Jurgen Klopp.
As things stand, Keita has made 28 appearances for Liverpool and has contributed three goals and two assists in all competitions.
The 27-year-old midfielder had his best game of the season during the Reds’ 5-0 victory over rivals Manchester United in the Premier League. Keita scored once and assisted another during the game at Old Trafford.
Liverpool are scheduled to face both Manchester clubs in a week’s time
Liverpool are scheduled to face both Manchester clubs in their next two matches across all competitions. The Reds will first take on title-rivals Manchester City in the semifinals of the FA Cup.
It is worth mentioning that both sides played each other in the Premier League last weekend. The game ended 2-2 on that occasion.
Following their FA Cup tie, the Reds return to Premier League action with a mid-week game against Manchester United at Anfield. The Red Devils could play a decisive role in Liverpool’s title charge this season.
As things stand, Jurgen Klopp’s side are a point behind league-leaders Man City with seven games remaining.