Liverpool’s Naby Keita fired home an unstoppable long-range strike to open the scoring in RB Leipzig’s 2-0 win away to Hamburger SV on Friday night.
Keita will join the Reds in 2018, after a £55 million deal was struck between the two clubs last month, bolstering Jurgen Klopp‘s midfield ranks significantly.
On sealing his move, the Guinean vowed to “give my all until the final whistle” at Leipzig, and that was clear at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.
Operating alongside Diego Demme in Ralph Hasenhuttl’s two-man midfield, Keita shone in the box-to-box role that he has made his own since joining from FC Istres in 2014.
And collecting a quick free-kick midway through the second half, the 22-year-old stepped into space and sent a 30-yard thunderbolt beyond Christian Mathenia to make it 1-0.
Timo Werner, who was also reported to be in Liverpool’s sights earlier in the summer, doubled Leipzig’s lead to secure the three points.
Keita did limp off the field at full-time, suggested to have suffered a groin injury, but his impact on the pitch was clear, vindicating Jurgen Klopp‘s desire to bring him to Anfield.
Speaking at Melwood on Friday afternoon, Klopp described Keita as “the player of the league.”
“I have contact with a lot of people in Germany. I’ve never had so many congratulations like when it went public that we signed Naby,” he told reporters.
“Because he’s the player of the league, that’s how it is. Last year together with Thiago Alcantara, who played outstanding for Bayern, he was the flier.
“He’s been doing that already for two or three years in different leagues.
“He’s still a very young boy—that’s really good news. OK you have to wait, but sometimes you have to wait for the really good things.
“I have no problem with this, I would have preferred another situation, but that’s not a problem!”