Klopp: More to come from brilliant Keita

By Sports Desk December 18, 2019

Jurgen Klopp lauded the "very decisive" Naby Keita and believes there is even more to come from the Liverpool midfielder after reaching the Club World Cup final.

Keita opened the scoring in Liverpool's 2-1 semi-final win over Monterrey on Wednesday to continue his fine run of form.

The Guinea international has netted in three straight games, while he has already matched his goal tally of last season with the three strikes.

Klopp praised Keita and said the 24-year-old could get even better for the Premier League leaders.

"Naby, what a player, very decisive, super goal, another super chance," the Liverpool manager told a news conference.

"That's his strength, in small spaces he feels quite comfortable, so that helps us a lot. The runs in behind when we are already high up the pitch, that's an exceptional skill of his that he goes there.

"He scored already a goal like this, had another chance in a similar situation. But Naby is a player who can score goals. It is not the highest number of games he's played for us, but he's scored a lot of goals already, important goals as well.

"Absolutely brilliant how he did that, and there is so much more to come. Maybe if you know Naby a bit longer you would say, 'OK, that looked really good but there is still some space'. That's absolutely brilliant news for us."

Mohamed Salah's wonderful pass set up Keita's opener, but Liverpool needed a 91st-minute winner from Roberto Firmino after Rogelio Funes Mori had equalised for Monterrey.

With plenty of attention on Egypt international Salah in Qatar, Klopp said he was happy with his star forward's performance.

"First of all the pass for Naby's goal was from Mo, that much to your thesis that he couldn't play the final ball," he said. "The ball for [James] Milner's chance was from Mo as well.

"We are all human beings and the attention on Mo in this part of the world is obviously massive.

"I thought he played a sensationally good game for everything that happened around [him]. When you go out for a warm-up and everyone is only looking at you, I wouldn't feel too comfortable with that. He deals really well with it.

"He was always a threat, he played a really good game, until the last minute he was there for the balls in behind, stuff like this.

"They tried to defend him from time to time with two guys… that's really aggressive but that's how life is, he has to deal with it. But I'm really happy with Mo's game."

Liverpool will aim to win their first Club World Cup title when they face Flamengo in the final on Saturday.

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    Liverpool were winless in three games heading into the encounter, and in action for the first time since Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury on Saturday.

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    Ten Hag added: "We were unlucky. We performed well collectively. We were convincing, but that last one per cent was missing – we didn't score even though we created many chances.

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    Tagliafico turned in a miscued Sadio Mane effort 10 minutes before half-time for the game's only goal.

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