Klopp: Confidence concerns keeping Keita out of team (for now)

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Not every player can join one of the world’s biggest club’s and tear up everything in sight from day one like, say, Mohamed Salah or Gabriel Jesus.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Chelsea chasing Cavani; Palace, Newcastle duel for N’Jie ]

Take, for example, Naby Keita, who last season was widely regarded — by opinions and numbers — as one of the very best midfield performers in all of Europe. Keita, who just turned 23, made his long awaited move to Liverpool over the summer and has struggled to claim a regular place in the team.

After a run of early-season starts, Keita has started just a handful of games over the last two months and wasn’t involved in any of the Reds’ fixtures over the festive period, despite the busy schedule putting a significant strain on the squad. Is Jurgen Klopp worried about Keita and that’s why he’s not picking him? Is he injured? — quotes from the Guardian:

“It was not an injury, no, it’s just how it is sometimes. I spoke to Naby. Everything is fine. I am completely happy with Naby, but could he be a bit more confident in the games? Yes. Is he exactly the player in his best time at Leipzig? No, he is still adapting, that’s how it is.

“Everyone saw at the beginning of the season how brilliant he played. Tottenham (in September) was a fantastic game from him. We made a change around the PSG game, I don’t know when exactly, and the boys have to deal with it.

“A little injury here, a little injury there, and it was kind of a little setback but he is a fantastic player and I am really happy to have him here. It is so good and I am looking forward to our common future.

“You see it every day, wow, there is so much to come and there is so much influence he can have on each game. … There was no reason, just other boys were in a good shape as well, a bit was positioning, the system, all that stuff, and that’s how football decisions are. There is really no doubt about the boy, he is an outstanding player.”