Keita: I’ve improved a lot at Liverpool and Klopp is responsible

Naby Keita has endured his fair share of injury struggles at Liverpool, but the Guinean midfielder believes he has “improved a lot” under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp.

A protracted transfer saga at Anfield came to a close in the summer of 2018 when a big-money deal was pushed through.

Keita arrived on Merseyside with a big reputation having been established during his time with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig. The 25-year-old made 33 appearances across his debut campaign with the Reds, but missed out on a Champions League final outing after picking up an untimely knock.

He has played on a further 18 occasions this season, but is not guaranteed a regular role for Liverpool amid fierce competition for places.

Keita claims to be embracing the challenge of becoming a regular as he feels more at home in Premier League surroundings that can take a while to adjust to.

He told Liverpool’s official magazine of working with Klopp: “When I arrived I had to try to settle in and be able to integrate with the team. I respect his choices, so I was there to work every day.

“He is somebody who is able to give you explanations on the field, and that helps a lot and when you play of course you don’t ever doubt yourself. That’s coaching and he sees everything.

“I think I have now improved a lot, apart from my injuries which have kept me out of several matches. He’s somebody who communicates a lot and a coach who explains everything to all his players.”

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2019-20

Keita remains something of a work in progress for Klopp, who has found value in many other big-money signings, but Liverpool’s German tactician is considered to be one of the very best in the business.

“He is a coach that gives you confidence and he is the motivating factor before a match, but you’ve also got to be motivated on the field,” Keita added. “When you see him on the sideline and you’re on the field, it’s as if he’s playing with you and that gives you a lot of desire to do better.

“He’s always there for his players, he’s almost like a best friend but he’s a coach who can communicate with all his players.

“He will always defend his players because for him all the players are the same. There is no difference to him. He’s always there to explain things to you, such as if you haven’t played the best in a game, which is hard for coaches to do.

“But that’s a choice he has to make and it helps us fight harder on the training field to push hard so you can be playing at the weekend.”