Jurgen Klopp will be “a little bit disappointed” at Naby Keita’s return on Liverpool’s £53 million ($69m) investment, claims Steve Nicol.
The Reds spent big luring the highly-rated midfielder away from RB Leipzig.
They had to be patient in getting a deal over the line, with a big-money deal lined up almost 12 months before Keita arrived at Anfield.
Much was expected of the Guinea international on Merseyside, with his energy and goal threat considered to make him a perfect addition to Klopp’s plans.
Former Liverpool defender Nicol told ESPN FC: “Let’s be honest, we’ve got five games left and we’re saying he’s starting to pick it up.
“I mean, he hasn’t done particularly well.
“He’s had a couple of games where he’s played back to back but other than that he’s pretty much not been seen much this season.
“I think in all honesty Klopp will be a little disappointed with what he’s got this season from Keita.
“There’s no question he fits the mould of Liverpool’s middle three.
“He will get around the field, he will close the ball down, he will get the ball to the front three.
“But when they bought this guy, the idea was then for him to chip in with some goals as well.
“He got 14 goals in 57 games in the Bundesliga, that’s a great record for a midfield player.
“But he’s not been able to do that, not to season in the Premier League. Yes he’s got two in two recently, but it’s a little bit late.
“So maybe he’s going to be one of those players who will take a season to figure it out, fit in, and then maybe next year we’ll see what Klopp thought he was getting from Naby Keita.
“And that is goals as well as performance.”
Keita has taken in 29 appearances for Liverpool this season.
They will be hoping that a spark has been found heading into the final weeks of the season, with a crunch clash against Chelsea next on the agenda for a side chasing down a first top-flight title in 29 years.