Naby Keita, in an exclusive interview with Paul Joyce of the Times, has revealed to watching EVERY Liverpool game last season in order to prepare him for life in the Premier League.
Keita was eager to begin his Liverpool career back in 2017 but tough negotiator Ralf Rangnick had scuppered a move.
Instead, the Guinean was forced to delay his transfer by one-year after sporting director Michael Edwards had agreed to the early capture of the midfielder; a move that would see Liverpool pay a premium. It was confirmed to be £52.75 million.
Whilst Keita was 100 per cent committed to RB Leipzig in the 2017/18 campaign, the 23-year old sought it as an opportunity to learn about Klopp’s Liverpool side. Almost like a homework task.
After each and every Bundesliga fixture, Keita would go home and watch the Reds’ play.
“I watched every match. It was going to be important for me,”
“The way they played, the tactics, everything. Obviously, I still had the contract with Leipzig and I was focused 100 per cent on helping them but I was watching every game.”
“You are fulfilling a dream of coming to a massive club like Liverpool — it is normal you do as much as you can to prepare to be ready from the moment you arrive.”
“I suppose the people I concentrated on the most being a midfielder, and looking at things offensively, was Bobby [Roberto Firmino], Sadio [Mané] and Mo [Salah]. I knew Sadio from Red Bull Salzburg, but I would look at their movements.”
“They are all fast, skilful, comfortable on the ball; the speed of the two guys out wide means they want the ball in front of them quite often so they can get in behind.”
“Bobby likes to come a little deeper and join in, so he wants it to feet. I knew all this before I came, then, of course, you have to assimilate the manager’s ideas, but I had an idea of how I could help to get the team playing and join in with moves.”
Naby Keita started Liverpool’s opening three fixtures of the season, playing an important role in midfield. However, he was rested when Liverpool took on Leicester.
Up next, Tottenham Hotspur. Keita is expected to come back in to the side that beat Leicester City in gameweek four.
He and his teammates are preparing for what some people would call a “tough run of games”. But, others are relishing with excitement in what promises to be a defining month for Jürgen Klopp.