Jurgen Klopp has intimated that Naby Keita will still have a massive role to play this season, despite the signing of Thiago potentially pushing him down the pecking order.
The coach was talking ahead of the Arsenal game on Monday night – and made some very interesting points about Liverpool’s no.8.
Jurgen Klopp admitted that when he tried to coach Keita after a few months of his arrival, the Guinean actually went backwards due to the tactical confusion and the fact he is a very natural, instinctive footballer – but that now – having adapted to England – he’s flying.
“The very beginning was very good. I didn’t speak to him about football – I just wanted him to his natural stuff – that was really good. Then I started coaching him – then it got worse!” Klopp said.
“Naby had to learn the language, feel settled in the squad. But now he’s doing really well. We take care of him.”
Klopp saying here that Naby Keita went backward in his development after he tried to coach him in his first season at the club. Really interesting. A really natural, instinctive footballer sometimes can be confused by an ultra-tactical approach. Now though, Keita 100% sorted ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/pddvksQSSG
— Empire of the Kop (@empireofthekop) September 25, 2020
Klopp’s comments mirror what fans thought about Keita in his first season, actually. There was clearly a superb technician in there, but he looked shackled and without confidence.
2020 is different though. The Guinean shone after lockdown and started the first two games of the season, and few would bet against him being in the lineup for Monday night’s game with Arsenal either.
With Fabinho in at centre-back for now, there are really three spots for four players: Keita, Jordan Henderson, Thiago and Gini Wijnaldum.
All are terrific and there will be no complaints from fans if any are on the bench.