Steven Gerrard hands No 8 shirt to Naby Keita [PHOTO]

Naby Keita will next week officially be unveiled as a Liverpool player following his pre-agreement with RB Leipzig last summer.

Keita is set to become the first player to wear the number 8 shirt since May 2015, when Gerrard left the club for MLS side LA Galaxy.

Steven Gerrard hands No 8 shirt to Naby Keita

The player told Liverpoolfc.com: ‘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 23-year-old will begin pre-season training on Monday at Melwood when the players not on international duty are due to report to begin preparations for 2018-19 and admitted he cannot wait to get started.

He added: ‘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.’

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