Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes there is plenty more to come from Naby Keita despite the midfielder being in his best form since he joined the club.
The Guinea international scored for the third successive match in a 2-1 win over Monterrey which booked their place in Saturday’s Club World Cup final against Brazilians Flamengo.
Keita has endured a testing start to his career since joining in the summer of 2018, but having overcome some niggling injuries he is starting to show the form for which Liverpool paid £52million.
“Naby is a player who can score goals,” said the manager.
“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 (against Monterrey) – 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.”
Roberto Firmino was Liverpool’s saviour, coming off the bench to score in the first minute of stoppage time – yet another late, important intervention in Liverpool’s season, after Keita’s 12th-minute opener had been cancelled out by Rogelio Funes Mori, the twin brother of former Everton defender Ramiro.
It spared them 30 minutes of extra time, which was crucial as they are starting to struggle with injuries and missed Virgil Van Dijk for the match through illness, leaving Klopp to deploy midfielder Jordan Henderson alongside his one fit centre-back Joe Gomez.
“I was actually afraid of the extra time to be honest so I was more than happy when Bobby scored that goal,” said Klopp.
“We had to do a few changes because we had no other options, but we wanted some other changes for the line-up.
“It meant we left Trent (Alexander-Arnold) out, Bobby out and Sadio (Mane) out, so that gives us then the opportunity when the game is not decided to make a decision.
“That Bobby scored the goal is just wonderful. He came on and was immediately in the game, really good situations.
“But staying on track is part of our game. For sure, you cannot plan a goal like this, you only should not think it is impossible.”