Jurgen Klopp admits Naby Keita is yet to hit the kind of form that saw him light up the Bundesliga prior to his move from RB Leipzig.
The Liverpool midfielder has endured a stuttering start to life on Merseyside, with injuries proving a key disruption to his bid to achieve some consistency.
Keita has started just 10 of the Reds’ opening 28 games across all competitions so far this season, missing four through injury and remaining an unused substitute on six occasions.
Having teased signs of encouragement with an outstanding display in December’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth, the Guinean has since struggled to kick on.
Discussing the summer signing, Klopp told Sky Sports: “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.”
“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.”
With Klopp unlikely to add to his squad in January, Reds can take confidence from the prospect of Keita finally finding his feet over the second half of the campaign.
The 23-year-old is in contention to return to the starting eleven when Liverpool face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup at Molinuex on Monday night.
It remains to be seen who will join him in midfield, with Klopp expected to ring the changes in view of Saturday’s league clash with Brighton.
Adam Lallana looks a leading contender to play from the off as he, too, eyes a more significant role following the turn of the year.