Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier says Naby Keita has the potential to become an unmissable part of the Reds’ midfield.
Keita moved to Anfield in the summer of 2018, after originally signing a year prior and agreeing to stay with RB Leipzig.
However, his Liverpool career has followed a similar pattern of inconsistency to date. Small injuries have set the Guinea international back after several bursts of impressive form.
Since the Premier League restarted, however, Keita has featured in all four matches. Indeed, he started in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa.
And Houllier, who works as the head of global football for Red Bull, has said he has faith the midfielder will show his true potential.
“Keita was playing for a ‘championship’ team in France [Metz],” Houllier told the Liverpool Echo. “They were struggling but he was playing everyone off the park.
“Like when I saw Steven Gerrard; he was practically everywhere and his maturity was impressive, even under pressure. I recommended [RB] Salzburg buy him and they followed me.
“He has a good attitude. Once he fits in the [Liverpool] team, he will stay there.”
Keita has made 55 appearances for the Reds so far, scoring six goals and assisting three others.
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Houllier also has fond memories of working with Sadio Mane, who – like Keita – moved from Metz to Salzburg.
“I saw Mane during the Olympic Games in 2012,” he said. “He was at Metz and we bought him at the time for €4m at Red Bull Salzburg.
“He played two years and won a [league and cup] double. Then he ran away to go to Southampton! And then on to Liverpool.
“He has become more and more composed. Very focused and more composed in front of goal particularly. He can make goals but he can also score goals.”