'Outstanding' Keita earns high praise from Henderson after rediscovering Liverpool spark

The Reds skipper believes his fellow midfielder, who endured a dip after making a bright start at Anfield, showed his true colours in a win at Burnley

Naby Keita put in an “outstanding” performance for Liverpool at Burnley, according to Jordan Henderson, with the midfielder having rediscovered his early-season spark.

The 23-year-old is a player the Reds had their eye on for some time before finally welcoming him to Anfield over the summer.

A deal was done with RB Leipzig almost a year before a big-money transfer was pushed through, with Jurgen Klopp prepared to wait for the talented Guinea international.

Keita impressed upon being introduced to the Liverpool side, but niggling injuries stunted his progress and led to a dip in form.

He is, however, considered to have been back to his best during a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor, with Reds skipper Henderson telling the club’s official website: “He started the season brilliantly and obviously then getting an injury set him back a little bit. But you can see how good a player he is.

“That shot with the left foot and the save from [Joe] Hart was fantastic. In his overall play, he is comfortable on the ball and he helps build up play from the back.

“He drives the ball forward, which is big for us. I thought he was outstanding, along with everybody else really.”

Keita’s efforts helped Liverpool to another important three points on Wednesday, with victory over Burnley allowing them to remain within touching distance of Manchester City.

The defending Premier League champions still hold a two-point lead at the top, but Klopp’s side have matched their unbeaten efforts through 15 games.

Jordan Henderson Liverpool 2018-19

A sustained bid for a first top-flight crown since 1990 is now expected, but Henderson is reluctant to be caught up in the hype surrounding the Reds.

He added: “We are not really interested in City, to be honest, because there is a long way to go.

“We know how good they are, we expect them to win.

“We just expect ourselves to win games and perform to the level that we have been – and if we do that we can keep winning. But we just focus on game by game and it doesn’t really matter about anybody else.

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“The games are coming thick and fast, a lot of games in a short space of time but we showed we can use the squad and still perform to the level we know we are capable of and win games – and that’s a big plus for us.”

Liverpool will be back in action against Bournemouth on Saturday, before then taking in a crunch Champions League clash with Napoli as they seek to reach the last 16 of that competition.

Klopp’s men also have important Premier League fixtures with Manchester United, Wolves, Newcastle and Arsenal to come before the end of the calendar year.