Liverpool fans waited a long time for Naby Keïta to arrive at the club. Jürgen Klopp waited a long time for Naby Keïta to arrive at the club. And Naby Keïta waited a long time, too. A whole year waiting for his transfer to Liverpool to become official.
Given the wait and his talent and the fee , expectations were sky high. Maybe unfairly so. Even accounting for that, though, it’s fair to say Keïta’s Liverpool career hasn’t got off to a flying start, with limited minutes and now injury getting in the way.
The talent that made Keïta arguably the best midfielder in Germany over the past two seasons is still there, though—the player whose signing so excited fans and the manager—and even a more difficult than hoped-for start is, in the end, just a start.
“The objective is collective,” Keïta said, speaking to Premier League productions ahead of Liverpool’s match against Arsenal. “We’re a team. The team’s objective is my objective. I play for the team. Whatever we want to achieve, I’ll achieve with them.
“It is really special to have [Klopp] as a coach. He is open, you can talk to him and he’s not there for just one player, he’s there for all of us. He is focusing on all of us—he cares and he looks after all of us. It’s a real pleasure to play for him.”
Keïta’s next chance to play for Klopp and the team he’s now a part of won’t come against Arsenal, with the player expected to miss a further three to four weeks with the hamstring injury he suffered during the October international break.
He’ll be back, though, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to show his best for Liverpool. He’s one of the most talented young midfielders in the world already—and he’s got room to improve even on what he showed at Red Bull Leipzig.
“I’m learning,” Keïta added. “I’m training and trying to get better. I watch [my teammates] and the coach of course says, ‘You need to do this, you need to do this.’ That makes me feel like I want to do better. I want to progress.”