Football News

“Everyone forgot that” – Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool never lost faith in Naby Keita

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:19, 9 December 2019

Jurgen Klopp says he never doubted Naby Keita after the midfielder registered his first Liverpool goal of this season against Bournemouth.

The 24-year-old was handed a first start of the season at Dean Court and subsequently repaid his manager’s faith with a man-of-the-match performance in the 3-0 win over Liverpool.

How has Keita fared at Liverpool? Five things to know…

  • Naby Keita joined Liverpool from RB Leipzig for £48m.
  • He’s since gone on to make 42 appearances in all competitions, registering four goals and two assists.
  • However, the Guinean midfielder has struggled with injuries since moving to Anfield.
  • Keita featured just 25 times in the Premier League last season and has mustered only three appearances this term.
  • Jurgen Klopp, though, never doubted him after he started and scored against Bournemouth.

Keita, who joined the Anfield club in the summer of 2018, having initially agreed to sign the season prior, amassed only 14 league minutes before this weekend’s match against Bournemouth.

Across the Reds’ previous four Premier League outings, Keita was an unused substitute, but with games coming thick and fast, Klopp decided to rotate his squad, meaning a rare appearance for the former RB Leipzig man.

Liverpool ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, stretching their Premier League unbeaten streak in the process to 33 matches, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opening the scoring before Keita doubled their lead.

With the game coming to a close, he’d play Mohamed Salah in to finish the scoring, with this performance reminding everyone of Keita’s worth, though certainly not for Klopp, who says he never lost faith in him.

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“Naby had injuries, the team is in really good shape, so then do you change?” said Klopp.

“We are not flying, it’s not like we won all of the games 4-0, or 5-0, so we had to bring on a player who helps us with defending set-pieces.

“Then Naby is sitting outside thinking, ‘why don’t I play?’ I get all that. So we stayed in contact, we talked and we spoke a lot about it.

“But in the end, of course, a player needs to have this evidence that the manager still believes in you. I was never in doubt about that.

“It was just unlucky and in life, you need luck always. He started [his Liverpool career] really well – everybody forgot that – then got injured. And again we had two really good seasons.

“[I was] never in doubt about his quality.”