Jurgen Klopp has admitted the drop in quality of performance by Naby Keita, but backed the summer signing, saying he is 'a long-term project' for Liverpool.
According to the German tactician, the midfielder's started life on the Merseyside 'very good' before dropping to 'average', seemingly due to his battles with injury.
His recent stint on the sidelines saw Klopp support his return to Guinea to report for national team duty in the just concluded international break.
“His start was really good and then average. That’s how it is," Klopp said in a pre-match conference.
“I watched his game [for Guinea] and seen a yellow surface. It was a bouncy game. He came back tired.
“Short-term, long-term, future. How it looks
On Saturday, Liverpool visit Watford for a Premier League clash and Keita will hope to be handed a chance to impress on his tenth top-flight appearance.