Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 June 2019

Naby Keita 'working hard' to become a success at Liverpool

Guinea midfielder started brightly following his arrival from RB Leipzig, but injury has contributed to limited game time in recent months

Naby Keita, right, in action for Liverpool against Bayern Munich in the Uefa Champions League last-16, first leg. Getty Images
Naby Keita, right, in action for Liverpool against Bayern Munich in the Uefa Champions League last-16, first leg. Getty Images

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita is determined to overcome the challenges he has faced in his debut Premier League season and maintain his recent progress.

The Guinea international has made just 12 league starts since arriving from RB Leipzig in the summer in a £43 million (Dh210.7m) deal.

He was viewed as being the perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp's midfield but after a bright start faded after an injury interruption, while fellow new signing Fabinho started off slowly but has now become an integral part of the team.

Keita had probably his best game for the club in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth at Anfield earlier this month and is keen to build on that.

"I'm someone who likes to respond to a challenge, I never give up or stop trying, even if things were a little bit more difficult at the beginning," the midfielder told liverpoolfc.com.

"It's a lot faster here. The style of play is a lot more aggressive and the intensity of the game is really high in relation to Germany. That's fine, I'm now part of it, this is the league I'm playing in. I'm just going to keep working hard.

"Nothing is easy in football, it's just about the business of working hard. Every game you play you do your best. It's true that when I was in Germany I performed well and played a lot but here I've come to a big club, here everyone is capable of doing great things.

"Now it's down to me to work so I can perform even better in this league. Now I'm here, I'm not going to give up trying.

"I'm here to bring as much as I possibly can to the team and I want to work even harder so I can do even better than people thought I did against Bournemouth.

"I'm going to try to do better and better in the remaining matches, so I can finish the season as well as I possibly can with the team."

Keita has recovered from illness to take his place in the squad to face Watford at Anfield.

He could be handed another start as manager Jurgen Klopp is likely to have to reshuffle his side because Roberto Firmino is set to miss out with an ankle injury from Sunday's goalless draw at Manchester United.

Klopp has consistently backed Keita to come good and has stressed he is prepared to be patient in order to get the best out of the midfielder.

"Naby Keita is an outstandingly good player. Sometimes he showed it already, a lot at the start of the season, when everybody was excited," said Klopp. "Then he had a bit of an injury, language issue, it's a new club, these things happen.

"It's a long-term project, I said that. There's still a lot to come. It doesn't mean that he hasn't performed, because he had a lot of wonderful moments, good games. He's a wonderful player. Everything is fine, and will be even more fine."

Updated: February 27, 2019 03:48 PM

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