Jurgen Klopp believes there is lots more to come from Naby Keita once he comes out of his shell at Liverpool.
The Guinean has produced a superb start to life on Merseyside with excellent performances in the Reds’ opening two wins over West Ham and Crystal Palace.
His recent outing at Selhurst Park served as an insight into how Keita will improve Liverpool defensively, alongside bolstering the team’s attacking threat.
Keita impressed with a willing mobility across midfield in his side’s efforts to thwart Palace’s counterattacking threat and turn defence into their own attack within an instant.
Despite his bright first impression, Klopp feels there is plenty of room for improvement.
He told Sky Sports: “He’s very shy and not very extroverted but on the pitch you don’t see it. He needs to settle a little bit. He’s next to Sadio all the time [in training].”
“Everybody loves Naby but I don’t know if he loves us because he doesn’t speak a lot. But football-wise you can see the potential is outstanding but we have to give him time.”
Klopp added: “Defensively he’s very stable in his challenges. Tactically he can improve, and he must improve, but what else I don’t know.”
Keita has so far looked perfectly-suited to his new system under Klopp, fulfilling his ball retrieval obligation whilst offering the bursting runs in between the lines to initiate attacks.
The 23-year-old teased a moment of individual ingenuity on Monday when he flicked the ball beyond the on-rushing Andros Townsend after receiving a pass from Alisson just outside Liverpool’s penalty area.
He followed up the turn by unleashing Mohamed Salah with a lofted through ball in behind the Palace defence, only for the Egyptian to uncharacteristically squander his one-on-one chance.
Between his defensive attentiveness and attacking instinct, Keita has already seriously upgraded Liverpool’s midfield.