Jurgen Klopp has explained why Liverpool were so desperate to bring Naby Keita to Anfield after labelling the player one of the two best players in the Bundesliga two years ago.
The Reds finally completed their protracted move for Keita when he joined for a £52.75million fee in June from RB Leipzig.
Liverpool paid Keita’s RB Leipzig release clause as well as a premium last summer to secure his signature ahead of this coming season.
But they had to fend off interest from across Europe for a midfielder with a burgeoning reputation – and having originally been quoted £70million when they first made their interest known, Klopp reckons Liverpool have got themselves a bargain.
I would really be a little bit too long [talking about] why I like him,” Klopp said about Keita after Liverpool’s 3-2 pre-season win over Tranmere Rovers.
“He was two years ago, together with maybe Thiago Alcantara of Bayern, for sure the best player in the Bundesliga by far.
“It was unbelievable how he played and then we wanted to get him in, but Leipzig didn’t think that was the best idea in the world so they kept him.
“And then last season was good but not as good as the year before, but it was still good.
“He is young, he is full of football skills, very stable, very good in small spaces, endurance-wise fantastic, quick, good finishes, good runs in the box.
“So that’s a package that’s really interesting and that’s why we thought we should take him.”
Keita has appeared in both of Liverpool’s pre-season games so far, including Tuesday’s 3-2 success at Tranmere.
Liverpool continue their pre-season programme with a clash at Bury on Saturday.