Pundit Danny Mills says Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita needs to hit the ground running next season or face being axed by boss Jurgen Klopp.
Keita, who signed for Liverpool in 2017, joined a year later but a string of small injuries have dictated his Anfield career to date.
The Guinea international has shown glimpses of his talent in short bursts, before heading to the treatment table.
Indeed, he has missed key games such as last season’s Champions League final and the UEFA Super Cup showdown.
“Jurgen Klopp will have the luxury of looking round at his players,” Mills said.
“Once they have got the six points that they need they can start to drop one or two players in. He won’t make wholesale changes but he will look at one or two and give them an opportunity to prove themselves ahead of next season.
“It is a fresh start for a lot of players. Some may relish playing under a little less pressure.
“I think it is make a break for Keita next season. He needs to make a real impact if he is going to stay at Liverpool long-term.
“He has had enough time to settle in now and get used to his surroundings, teammates and the way that Klopp works.
“If he has not grasped that by next season and is not really pushing to be in the first team week in, week out, he might not be the right fit.”
LIVERPOOL’S MIDFIELD CHANGES
Liverpool’s midfield will undergo changes in the coming months, which could allow Keita to step up.
Jurgen Klopp’s key stars – the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho – will be staying on, but Adam Lallana will leave.
However, youngster Curtis Jones made his Premier League debut in December and could also fight for more game time.
Indeed, that could be the case if Liverpool are allowed to experiment after clinching the league title early.
The Reds could win the Premier League against Everton on Sunday if Manchester City lose to Arsenal on Wednesday.