'Naby Keita is a long-term project for Liverpool' - Jurgen Klopp

Naby Keita, Liverpool
The former RB Leipzig midfielder has been pegged back by injury problems after a promising beginning at Anfield

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.

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There’s three stops on the way back so that’s not cool. He trained yesterday and was completely fine. Naby can improve and learn the language but it’s a long-term project. We will use him.

“Short-term, long-term, future. How it looks in the moment, hopefully, it stays together and you will see them all. We want them in the best shape they can be and to get the points for us.”

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.