With Liverpool set to officially sign Naby Keïta on the 1st of July, the Guinean has spoken about the move and why he chose the Reds.
Few players have generated as much excitement before moving to Liverpool as Naby Keïta has.
With the move one that has been highly anticipated after the saga that was last summer’s negotiating with RB Leipzig, supporters are now able to really get excited about seeing their man in action.
The Reds will pay £62 million (€70,3m) to acquire one of Europe’s hottest midfielders and in doing so, strengthen the core of the side which, with Mohamed Salah, Fabinho and van Dijk, is looking very strong at the moment.
As is the custom, Keïta spoke to the club’s official website upon being revealed in a Liverpool kit for the first time.
After being welcomed to the club and asked about how excited he is, the 23-year-old replied: “Thank you. 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.”
The former RB Salzburg and Leipzig man is expected to push his new side onto greater things and will certainly thrill the Anfield clubs week in, week out.
On why Liverpool was the club for him, he said: “I chose Liverpool because it is a team I watched often – and I also spoke a lot about it with Sadio [Mané]. 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.
Keïta is also very excited about playing with Firmino, Salah and Mané, telling LFCTV: “Very much. I think it really depends on the coach on whether I’m behind them. But I am looking forward to playing with them in this team.
“It is a team that can beat anybody in Europe and has a lot of potential. I can’t wait to play in this team.
“I am somebody who plays in a defensive role and we need to start with that, but then I need to bring the ball forward and help the attack. I’ve always got a desire to win – I believe I’m a winner.”
Klopp was pivotal in getting the Guinean to move to Liverpool instead of other clubs, with Barcelona being rebuffed in favour of a move to Merseyside.
Speaking about his new coach, Keïta said: “I am really looking forward to working with him, but a lot of it depends on me and whether I have the courage to take my chance. And then how I perform on the pitch if I get that chance.”
On Mané and how he will be of use to his new teammate, the midfielder said: “Yes, of course, he can help me. He is like family to me. We were friends at Salzburg, he was like a brother to me.
“After training we used to go home together. He was my best friend there. During my integration into the team, he’ll be there for me. We did eight months together at Salzburg and I’m looking forward to being his teammate once again.”
Keïta spoke about his new no.8 jersey and how he was handed it by Steven Gerrard: “It pleases me a lot. It’s an important number and it carries a lot of history – but more importantly for me, having this number gives me the motivation to play and to follow in the footsteps of the players who’ve worn this shirt before.
“It was an incredible day for me. He [Gerrard] 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.”
Click here for the full transcript and video on Liverpool’s official website.