Jurgen Klopp Naby Keita
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'Outstanding player': Klopp says 'incredible' 2017 Liverpool signing is having his best-ever season now

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on Naby Keita after his cameo off the bench against Villarreal in the Champions League last night.

The Reds were made to work hard by Unai Emery’s men at Anfield. The visitors sat back and defended deep, making it incredibly hard for Klopp’s men to break them down.

Villarreal went in at the break with the score reading 0-0. They would’ve taken that result then, but Liverpool came out and blew them away in the second half, scoring twice in the space of two minutes.

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An own goal after Jordan Henderson’s cross followed by a really good finish by Sadio Mane gave Liverpool a well-deserved win, but Klopp was full of praise for one man who only played for 18 minutes last night.

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool star Naby Keita is an outstanding player

Keita only came on in the 72nd minute of the game last night and didn’t really have much to do. However, he still managed to catch Klopp’s eye.

The Liverpool boss said in his press conference after the game, as per the club’s official website: “Yes, it is his (Naby Keita’s) best season because he is, for the longest period, fit – and that’s good for us, that’s good for him.

“He is an outstanding player and that was always clear. Even in other seasons when he was not that consistently fit, he played incredible games.

“If you go back and watch our big games, you will realise how often Naby was on the pitch in these games. A very good, very good, moment for him.”

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There was a lot of hype around Keita when Liverpool signed him back in 2017. The Reds forked out a then club-record £48 million for his signature (BBC), but he has struggled over the years.

The 27-year-old is a really good player and he fits Klopp’s system very well. However, his injury record since moving to Liverpool in 2018, after a year on loan at RB Leipzig, has been very poor.

Since March 2019, Keita has missed a staggering 58 games for Liverpool in all competitions. That’s not ideal at all, but the good thing for Reds fans is that he has missed just one game since the turn of this year.

Keita’s in a good place at the moment and Klopp will be hoping he can carry on until the end of the season.

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