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Naby Keïta Opens up on Jürgen Klopp and “Confidence”

The midfielder says he’s a better player than when he was in Germany—now he just needs a run of fitness to prove it.

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Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

At RB Leipzig, Naby Keïta’s numbers set him out as one of the best, most dynamic midfielders in the game. And the 25-year-old says he’s only gotten better working with Jürgen Klopp—it’s just injuries that have got in the way.

That was perhaps the main takeaway when the Guinean international, who has shown flashes of real brilliance in Red, opened up about his relationship with Liverpool’s manager in this month’s Liverpool FC magazine.

“He sees everything,” noted Keïta. “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.

“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. When you see him on the sideline and you’re on the field, it’s as if he’s playing with you.”

It’s been hard, perhaps, to judge just how good Keïta has been at Liverpool. A lot of his underlying numbers say he’s the same standout he was in Germany, but those injuries have meant inconsistency at times—not to mention stretches when he hasn’t played at all.

Hopefully, when football foes return, Keïta will be able to show the Liverpool fans—and his manager—just what he can do by staying fit for a consistent run of games.

“He’s always there for his players,” he added. “When I arrived, I had to try to settle in and be able to integrate with the team. He is somebody who is able to give you explanations on the field, and that helps a lot and when you play.”