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Naby Keita confirmed as Liverpool's new No 8 but puts defence first

Keita first to wear iconic Liverpool number since Steven Gerrard

Naby Keita poses with the No.8 shirt at the club's Melwood training ground
Image: Naby Keita poses with the No.8 shirt at the club's Melwood training ground

Liverpool have confirmed Naby Keita will wear the No 8 when he officially joins on July 1 - but he says he is a defensive midfielder first and foremost.

Keita said he was honoured to receive the jersey from "legend" Steven Gerrard, but revealed he will bring his own style of play when he arrives at Anfield.

"Firstly I am somebody that plays in a defensive role and we need to start with that," he told LFC TV. "But then I need to bring the ball forward and help the attack.

"I've always got a desire to win - I believe I'm a winner."

Keita will cost £52.75m after RB Leipzig finished sixth in the Bundesliga. Liverpool agreed a deal during the 2017 summer transfer window, but his price was dependent on Leipzig's final league position.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has since added the £43m signing of Fabinho from Monaco, describing the midfielder as being able to play "No 6 or No 8".

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Croatia defender Dejan Lovren has praised the form of Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson at the World Cup

Emre Can has left Anfield to join Italian champions Juventus, though, and Keita said conversations with Klopp were a key factor behind his decision to move to Merseyside.

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"I spoke with the coach, who told me about the project for the team and that motivated me to be here," he said.

Keita also spoke with Liverpool's Sadio Mane before signing for the club. The pair played together at Salzburg and Keita described his new team-mate as "like a brother".

Sadio Mane celebrates after scoring against Bournemouth
Image: Keita says Sadio Mane is 'like a brother'

Liverpool finished fourth in the Premier League and were beaten in the Champions League final by Real Madrid last season.

Keita hopes his arrival can take the club even higher in the new campaign.

"When you see how they performed last season it makes me want to do the same and to be a part of this team," he added.

"I would like to be able to achieve a similar kind of season with them next season - but even better."

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