Everton's director of football Marcel Brands has taken a sly dig at Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita by suggesting that he hasn't lived up to expectations this season.
The 56-year-old, who moved to Goodison Park in the summer after spending eight years at PSV, has sanctioned several big money signings since starting his new role on Merseyside, bringing in the likes of Richarlison, Yerry Mina and Lucas Digne.
But it seems he has not been all that impressed with the transfer activity at neighbourhood rivals Liverpool, with Brands referencing the Guinean international while discussing whether Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn, who are both stand out stars at his former employers, could cut it at the highest level of English football.
“I think that if (PSV players) Hirving Lozano and Steven Bergwijn, in the Premier League, go directly to the absolute top, they will find it very difficult," Brands told Voetbal International.
“Look at Keita at Liverpool. He was signed for more than fifty million euros from Leipzig, but he’s just on the bench.”
Indeed, Keita has struggled to cement a regular first-team starting sport this season since moving to Anfield for a fee of around £52m. He started the season well enough, putting in a commanding performance against West Ham on the opening day of the season, but has struggled with injuries since then.
And despite returning to full fitness in recent weeks, he has failed to dislodge Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner from the heart of Liverpool's midfield, with fellow new signing Fabinho's star also beginning to shine brighter and brighter in recent weeks.
He has looked impressive at times this season though, and will he aiming to help Liverpool extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League season when the Reds travel to Wolves on Friday night.