Liverpool are being rewarded for Keita patience – Klopp

The midfielder suffered a slow start to life at Anfield but starred as the Reds returned to the top of the table by thrashing Huddersfield on Friday

Jurgen Klopp feels Liverpool are reaping the rewards of showing patience with Naby Keita.

Much was expected of the Guinea midfielder following move from RB Leipzig for a reported £53 million ($68.5m) ahead of the 2018-19 season.

Keita struggled to hit the ground running in the Premier League and initially found himself in and out of the Reds’ starting XI.

However, the 24-year-old has started to show what he is capable of in recent games for the title hopefuls and took just 15 seconds to open the scoring in Friday’s 5-0 hammering of relegated Huddersfield Town.

That was his third goal in five outings in all competitions and Liverpool boss Klopp says Keita just needed time to show his true qualities.

“People expect if you pay money for a player that you come in and from the first day you show everything you are able to do,” Klopp said. 

“That would be nice if it’s always that easy. It’s not. Naby needed time, we gave him the time and now he is there. 

“It was for sure his best game, in a lot of departments. He was calm in the right moment, very, very positive-aggressive in the right moments, winning balls, blocking balls, closing gaps, passing balls, being safe with the ball, turning and creating with that moment. 

“It was just a brilliant game.”

Liverpool are top of the league with two games remaining, but rivals Manchester City will return to the summit if they beat Burnley on Sunday.

Should the Reds win their final two games of the campaign they will only take the title if champions City drop points on their own run-in.

There remains the possibility that Klopp’s side will finish second despite reaching an almost unprecedented 97 league points and with 30 wins – a feat achieved only twice before in the Premier League era (Chelsea in 2016/17 and City in 2017/18).

Liverpool face Newcastle and Wolves in their final two outings, and also have a two-legged Champions League semi-final against Barcelona to navigate. 

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