Liverpool have released their latest episode of ‘Inside Anfield’ following the Reds’ 4-0 victory against Southampton on Saturday – and it features footage of a special reunion between Naby Keita and Ralph Hassenhuttl.
The former Bundesliga duo shared a long-awaited embrace following their time together at RB Leipzig. Keita made 71 appearances under Hassenhuttl after he signed the Guinean playmaker from fellow Red Bull club Salzburg in 2016.
Keita, 24, was a revelation under the current Saints manager during Leipzig’s inaugural campaign in the German top-flight. He clocked up 31 league appearances in his first campaign in the Bundesliga scoring eight goals whilst registering eight assists – Keita also was included in the 2016/17 Bundesliga Team of the Season.
An extraordinary campaign that culminated in Leipzig finishing runners-up in their first season in the Bundesliga triggered numerous interest for Keita from some of Europe’s biggest heavyweights. Hassenhuttl did his best to keep hold of his prized asset but was forced to accept the reality of his star player leaving the club after Liverpool agreed on a then-club-record deal to sign Keita who would join up with the Reds the following season.
Keita was just as effective in his final season in Germany despite the club slipping to sixth in the league table. The Guinea international made 39 appearances in all competitions before his Anfield arrival – scoring nine goals whilst boasting five assists.
Following Keita’s imminent departure, Hassenhuttl also decided to leave Leipzig at the end of the 2017/18 despite guiding the club to their best-ever Bundesliga finish the previous year. The Austrian manager asked for his contract to be terminated with the club as he was not comfortable acting as an interim for incoming boss Julian Nagelsmann.
Liverpool’s 24th victory of the season was also Hassenhuttl’s first visit to the home of the European champions since joining Southampton in December 2018. The former Leipzig duo reunited in the Anfield tunnel before the match engaging in a warm embrace.
Keita was named on Jurgen Klopp’s bench with the Reds’ No.8 having just recovered from a groin injury sustained in the warm-up against Sheffield United last month – he came off the bench in the second-half to feature for 17 minutes as Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the PL table to 22 points.