Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have been among the goals as Liverpool thrashed West Ham United 4-0 in their Premier League opener on Sunday, but Reds fans couldn’t stop raving about Naby Keita’s debut and even Jurgen Klopp admitted the midfielder made a solid start to life in England.
“Yes, nice. Absolutely a good performance, of course,” Klopp gushed during his post-match presser at Anfield.
Salah opened the scoring before Mane helped himself to a brace against a hapless Hammers side and substitute Daniel Sturridge would provide the icing on the cake with a late strike to complete the scoreline.
However, Keita was the star in midfield and his displays brought back memories of club legend Steven Gerrard, the man who’s jersey number (8) he wears, for many Liverpool fans.
“After six weeks in I don’t make the difference between a new player and another player because for me, it is exactly similar importance that Millie and Gini are ready to make the next step in their development as well.”
Keita was influential in most of Liverpool’s attack and played a key role in the opener. Driving forward from the halfway line, he released Andy Robertson on the wing and the Scottish fullback’s low cross was tapped into the net by a grateful Salah.
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“So Naby is in because he’s a really good footballer and I’ve said it from the beginning that he’s obviously settled really quick and has a similar style of play in a similar position as he did at Leipzig.”
It wasn’t just the goals, however, as the Guinean midfielder was in sync with his teammates and hardly put a foot wrong against a side many experts had touted as giant-killers prior to the start of the season.
“He can play different positions of course, but I think No.8 is his best in the moment, so that’s all cool. He has a lot of help from the players around – Sadio works really hard and the same with Gini and Millie and Robbo in this case. So that’s really good. I’m pleased, absolutely, but actually that’s what we expected.”
Liverpool, topping the Premier League after Matchday 1, next face Crystal Palace on August 20.