Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has stated that he never had any doubts about the quality of Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, even when many people did.
Keita, since arriving at Liverpool from Leipzig for a fee of £53 million in the summer of 2018, has had a slow start to life at Anfield.
Along with adapting to a new country, the Guinea international has had to deal several injuries since arriving at the club. His slow start has had pundits and fans questioning whether he will make it at Anfield.
Despite not quite playing to the best of his ability during his time at Liverpool thus far, Keita had a breakthrough game on Saturday.
The midfielder featured in Liverpool’s 3-0 Premier League victory on the weekend against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. Keita had a superb game, as he finished with a goal and an assist.
Despite some of the negative attention Keita has been receiving by pundits and fans in recent times, Klopp has stated that he never lost faith in his big-money signing.
Klopp also addressed Keita’s lack of playing time, but he has assured the midfielder his future remains at Anfield.
“Naby had injuries, the team is in really good shape, so then do you change?,” said Klopp in his post-match press conference after defeating the Cherries.
“We are not flying, it’s not like we won all of the games 4-0, or 5-0, so we had to bring on a player who helps us with defending set-pieces.
“Then Naby is sitting outside thinking, ‘why don’t I play?’ I get all that.
“So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it.
“But in the end of course a player needs to have this evidence that the manager still believes in you. I was never in doubt about that.
“It was just unlucky and in life you need luck always. He started (his Liverpool career) really well – everybody forgot that – then got injured. And again we had two really good seasons.
“(I was) never in doubt about his quality.”
If Keita can stay injury-free, he can have a huge say in whether the Reds claim the Premier League title come the end of the season.
However, the Reds have a Champions League fixture against Salzburg away to deal with first. Klopp’s side need to avoid defeat to progress to the knockout rounds, but it is unclear whether Keita will feature or not.