Jurgen Klopp believes Naby Keita will soon become ‘great player’. The Guinean is back from injury but not yet ready to play.
Naby Keita hasn’t played since before Christmas and that certainly makes life harder for Jurgen Klopp. The Liverpool boss doesn’t have as many fit players as he’d like, after all.
Injuries have crippled Liverpool’s squad depth, forcing several out of position for extended periods. Keita, unfortunately, has been one of those injuries.
But then, that’s nothing new.
Keita has frequently battled injuries ever since joining Liverpool. It feels as though every time he gets going, something stops him on his way.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Klopp, though, believes it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ Keita finally becomes the player Liverpool need.
“[Keita] has had some very great spells but he has had too many injuries,” said Klopp, per the Liverpool Echo. “He has played some really great games, scored important goals.
“These injuries were minor things but kicked him out of the team but he has an excellent perspective.
“He is a great player. And when these injuries are behind him, we will have a great player.”
What RTK has to say
Klopp makes these comments as Keita returns to training for the first time in months. Thus begins the optimism.
That’s the cycle with Keita, though. He comes into the Liverpool side and gradually finds some decent form.
Then right as you hope he’s about to really kick on, an injury hits and he’s out for an extended period. Then he comes back and you start getting excited that this will be the time Keita gets it all together and becomes a star.
There are two encouraging things for us. Firstly, Klopp genuinely seems to think Keita is a ‘great player’ in waiting and that he can get over these injuries.
The other is that Liverpool really do play better with Keita in the side. Our analysis of the Reds’ midfield this season suggests having a player like Keita does bring about better results and performances.
So now he’s back in training, we can expect to see Keita in the XI before too long. That won’t be today against RB Leipzig but soon.
And, hopefully, this is the time everything finally goes right.