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Steven Gerrard personally handed Naby Keïta Liverpool's famous number 8 shirt

The Guinean midfielder was unveiled today and he will officially complete his move on 1 July.
Jun 27th 2018, 2:04 PM 13,270 24

NEW LIVERPOOL SIGNING Naby Keïta will wear the number 8 shirt at Liverpool after being unveiled by the club today.

The Guinean will officially join the club on 1 July after the Reds agreed a deal with RB Leipzig for the 23-year-old’s services last summer, with Keïta revealing that legend Steven Gerrard personally presented him with the jersey upon his arrival last August.

Gerrard was the last player to don the number, for over a decade until 2015, when he left the club to join LA Galaxy.

Other famous players to previously wear the jersey include Ray Houghton, Jan Mølby, John Aldridge, Ronnie Whelan and Emile Heskey.

Speaking to LFCTV, Keïta described it as motivation to go on and be successful at the club, and labelled Gerrard’s gesture as “incredible”.

“It’s an important number and it carries a lot of history, but more importantly for me: This jersey gives me the motivation to play and follow in the footsteps of the players who’ve worn this shirt before,” 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 at 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.”

Keïta has attributed much of his decision to join Liverpool to Sadio Mané and a conversation with Jurgen Klopp, saying that he hopes to enjoy more success while at the Merseyside club.

“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.”

Keïta helped RB Leipzig to a second place finish in the 2016-17 Bundesliga season and qualification for the Europa League this season. A Guinean international, he has been capped 29 times for his country.

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