Sadio Mane thinks Naby Keita is now ready to put his injury woes behind him.
The Guinean endured a stop/start season in 2018/19 and has to yet play a minute this campaign – after picking up another injury in the buildup to the European Super Cup.
He has however been training at Melwood during this international break and it shouldn’t be too long until his return to action.
Mane played with Keita in Austria at Salzburg, the side we’ve drawn in the Champions League – and spoke very highly of Liverpool when the midfielder was considering his next move.
He knows Keita’s true ability and thinks the fans will see it on a regular basis soon.
“Since our days at Salzburg, he was always a good man, and a good friend to me,” Mane told the Echo.
“He’s such a great player, so I think everyone will see once he gets over his injures how important he will be for this club.
“I have no doubts about him!”
First up, Keita needs to stay fit. His niggling injuries are really damaging to his chances of being selected regularly by Jurgen Klopp. Just ask Adam Lallana.
Secondly, he needs to play with confidence when he gets the opportunity and look to show us the attributes he displayed so vibrantly in Germany: dribbling, bursting through the middle, through-balls, long shots and interceptions.
At the moment, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum have three spots in midfield fairly tied down, so Keita needs to perform above the latter pair to secure one of the no.8 roles.
He also has Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to contend with – so earning himself a spot in Klopp’s superb outfit is not going to be easy.
But he has the talent to do it.