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Klopp: Keita still adapting but has so much more to come 

Jurgen Klopp has given summer signing Naby Keita his full support despite a frustrating first few months for the midfielder at Anfield.

The Guinea international was signed in summer of 2017 from RB Leipzig for around £50million, but it was agreed by both parties to keep the 23 year-old in Germany for another season.

The reports on Keita were glowing, as he looked to have the kind of energy and all-round ability that Liverpool's midfield quite often lacked in the critical moments.

Naturally, the expectation levels were very high when he finally arrived on Merseyside for the current season.

However as we have seen time and time again, adjusting to the Premier League does not happen overnight.

Keita started four of the first five league games and was solid in his performance.

Since then, niggling injuries and consistent performances from other midfielders, has seen Keita confined to a bit-part role, therefore lacking the kind of continuity he would have liked to start his Liverpool career.

Keita had to bide his time on the substitutes bench during the busy festive period, but Klopp said there was nothing sinister behind that decision.

He also had no doubt that the best of Keita is not far away.

Sky Sports reported Klopp as saying:

"No. That is sometimes how it is. I spoke to him. [With] Naby everything is fine. I am completely happy with him.

"Could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes.

"Is he exactly the player in his best time at Leipzig? No, but he is still adapting - that is how it is"

Despite the slowish start, Keita has had his games where his potential has shone through, most recently against Burnley in early December where he was one of the standout players on the pitch.

 

keita3_600.jpg
 

Klopp said the injuries and a tactical change has not helped the midfielder.

"Everybody saw, not only at the beginning of the season, how brilliantly he played in the first part. Tottenham [away] was a fantastic game from him without thinking too much.

"Then we made a change around pre-[Manchester] City game. The boys have to deal with it and then a little injury here, little injury there.

"There was no reason - just because other boys were in good shape as well. It was a bit about positioning and system - that is how football decisions are

"It was kind of a little setback but he is a fantastic player and I am really happy to have him here. I am really looking forward to our common future.

"You see every day, wow, there is so much to come and so much influence he can have on each game. That's all good.

"There is really no doubt about the boy, he is an outstanding player."

The spotlight on Keita has shone a bit brighter of late due to the impressive recent form from fellow new signings Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.

What Keita needs more than anything is minutes under his belt, and that is why the FA Cup has come round at the perfect time for a player in his position.

While it has been a difficult beginning to his Liverpool career, there is little doubt Keita will become a valuable player in the years ahead and as fans, we can look forward to seeing him grow.


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Saw quite a bit of Naby for Leipzig and he definitely is an outstanding player but it's beyond time for him to prove that in our Red shirt. Kloppo needs to pick him and persevere with him.

 

Keita never was and never will be a Coutinho type of player, and nor will he ever be a wide player. Just get him into our midfield alongside Fabinho and let him get on with it.

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51 minutes ago, Carvalho Diablo said:

Saw quite a bit of Naby for Leipzig and he definitely is an outstanding player but it's beyond time for him to prove that in our Red shirt. Kloppo needs to pick him and persevere with him.

 

Keita never was and never will be a Coutinho type of player, and nor will he ever be a wide player. Just get him into our midfield alongside Fabinho and let him get on with it.

It’s Shaqiri or him IMO. In a 4-3-3, Keita should always start, but I a 4-2-3-1, he should be dropped/rested for Shaq.

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43 minutes ago, VERBAL DIARRHEA said:

Keita can play in the middle of a three in 4231.

Noted, but I’d find it very difficult to drop Gini for him though.

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3 minutes ago, The Guest said:

We need to win games.  Banging him and persevering with him at the risk of results would be daft.  Klopp is doing the right thing.

Not while the vastly inferior Henderson plays. 

 

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1 hour ago, Jairzinho said:

Not while the vastly inferior Henderson plays. 

 

It isn’t mutually exclusive.  I’d drop Henderson and I’d be giving Ketia time but the other midfielders are producing and should be starting ahead of him at the moment.

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2 hours ago, Jairzinho said:

Not while the vastly inferior Henderson plays. 

 

So far its been Keita who has been vastly inferior. And I'd say Keita has done little to say he's ever been better than Henderson,or Milner.

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1 minute ago, VladimirIlyich said:

So far its been Keita who has been vastly inferior. And I'd say Keita has done little to say he's ever been better than Henderson,or Milner.

I just don't even.

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3 hours ago, VERBAL DIARRHEA said:

Wijnaldum would be in a two with Fabinho behind the three.

More difficult to drop Firmino though pal - that will never happen - he has always been one for the first names on the sheet for Klopper

 

 

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4 minutes ago, TheHowieLama said:

More difficult to drop Firmino though pal - that will never happen - he has always been one for the first names on the sheet for Klopper

 

 

I’m only talking about tonight H.

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13 minutes ago, TheHowieLama said:

More difficult to drop Firmino though pal - that will never happen - he has always been one for the first names on the sheet for Klopper

 

 

Why don't you just say it outright, Howsies - you want Firmino out of the club.

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23 minutes ago, Jairzinho said:

I just don't even.

Don't even know how anybody can defend Keita yet,at all. A few lively games is all he's had and he's still under the heading of 'potential.' I have no doubt he will hit the ground running but he hasn't yet. Stupid to compare Keita to Henderson or Milner or even Fabinho as he's a very different type of player to each of them. The frustrating part is that he'd probably do very well if firing in our current line up. Our midfield works better when balanced and the City selected three were an unbalanced set up until Fabinho came on.

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Keïta is not really competing with Henderson for a place in the team, is he. 

 

I’m pretty certain Klopp knows what he’s doing 

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I have to say it's a bit weird to me how Jurgen has used Keita.

 

I thought he'd come in and play as one of the more attacking 2 midfielders in a 4-3-3. But he's only played there a couple of times (coincidentally his best performances). In a 4-2-3-1 you'd think he'd be crying out to be played either as one of the two alongside a more defensive-minded player, or in the middle of the 3. Instead he's been put out wide on the left, which he has struggled with.

 

I think once Ox comes back our midfield will sort of settle itself out to be Fabinho playing behind Ox and Keita most of the time, with Gini backing up Fabinho and Henderson, Milner and Shaqiri rotating in the further forward options. But if Klopp wants to go 4-2-3-1 longer term (and he might do, given that's the best way to get Shaqiri on the pitch from the start) it will be harder for Keita to find consistent minutes.

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He wasn’t good tonight unfortunately. I can see why Klopp is taking his time with him. It’s so annoying we’re out of all the domestic cup competitions, would’ve been the perfect opportunities to bed him in. 

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