Jurgen Klopp has explained just why he was so desperate to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig after the unique midfielder finally arrived at Anfield.
The Reds spent much of the 2017 summer transfer window trying to negotiate a deal for Keita off the back of a magnificent breakthrough season, but Leipzig sought to rebuff their advances by slapping eyewatering price tags in the Guinean international.
Eventually, Liverpool opted to trigger a clause which would see Keita arrive the following summer for a reduced fee of around £53million.
Klopp, then, finally has a chance to integrate the 23-year-old into his side, having been stunned by his performances in Germany.
“Naby was two years ago, together with maybe Thiago Alcantara of Bayern, for sure the best player in the Bundesliga by far,” he said.
“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 he was still good – not as good as the year before but 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 already has more than 90 minutes under his belt, having played a half in each of Liverpool’s two pre-season friendlies.
Few recent Liverpool signings have generated such a level of excitement, with Keita widely tipped to take the Premier League by storm.