Jurgen Klopp has praised the start Naby Keita has made at Liverpool but has indicated where the new signing needs to improve.
The Reds picked up a hugely pleasing 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Monday night, keeping up their winning start to the Premier League season.
James Milner‘s penalty and Sadio Mane‘s last-gasp strike were enough to get Klopp’s men over the line at Selhurst Park, in what was an early examination of their title credentials.
Keita once again started in midfield and he shone for much of the night, producing one outrageous turn, run and pass that should have seen Mohamed Salah open the scoring.
The Guinean’s influence did wane as the minutes ticked away, with Adam Lallana eventually replacing him, but it was another positive night for the new No.8.
After the game, Klopp was asked about his new midfielder’s impact, with the manager joking about his quiet personality but also demanding more from him in the future.
“He’s a very shy person and not very extroverted, he needs to settle a bit,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“He’s next to Sadio all the time. We all love Naby but we don’t know if he loves us as he doesn’t speak a lot!
“But he needs time, he’s outstanding on the pitch, in Germany we saw a lot of dribbling in tight areas, we didn’t see that yet.
“But he can do better, he played a few nice passes, but defensively very stable in the challenges, tactically he can and must still improve.”
It often takes new signings time to settle in the Premier League, particularly in a system as complex as Klopp’s, so we might not see Keita at his absolute best for a while yet.
Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are good examples in that respect, with both making slow starts before excelling last season.
That being said, Keita has still caught the eye greatly in his first two matches, earning praise from pundits and supporters alike.
His ability to beat players with pace and trickery and do everything in such slick fashion has already added another dimension to the Reds’ attack.
He is one of Liverpool’s most exciting signings of the Premier League era and will only go from strength to strength.