Henderson knows all about Liverpool struggles and sees Keita starting to justify £53m fee

Comments()
Getty
A man who is now the Reds' skipper initially struggled to make his mark on Merseyside and has seen a current colleague come through similar tests

Jordan Henderson claims Naby Keita has come through Liverpool struggles similar to those he experienced when first arriving at Anfield to start justifying a £52.75 million ($68m) price tag.

The Reds put a big-money deal in place with the Guinea international during the summer of 2017.

They had to wait 12 months before welcoming him onto their books, with the fee required to secure his services from RB Leipzig rising in that time.

Big things were expected of Keita upon his arrival, with his energy and technique considered to fit perfectly within Jurgen Klopp’s model on Merseyside.

The 24-year-old has, however, endured a difficult debut campaign, with questions asked of his contribution and role in the Reds’ engine room.

Recent displays have suggested that he is through an untimely dip in form, with Liverpool skipper Henderson hoping to see Keita follow his lead when it comes to recovering from a shaky start.

The England international told reporters ahead of a Champions League clash with Bayern Munich: “Everybody can see how good Naby is as a footballer.

“But as I know myself coming to Liverpool, it's such a huge club and especially changing to the Premier League, it's tough. It takes time to adapt.

“He has done really well in certain games he has played. I can see him getting used to the way we play and the manager is helping him improve. I can definitely see the potential coming out of him.

“But it takes time to feel right at home, but over the last couple of games you can see the quality he gives the team and how good he is.”

Jordan Henderson Liverpool Premier League Team of the Week 20012019

Keita is expected to form part of Klopp’s plans for a last-16 encounter with Bayern.

The Liverpool boss will, however, be unable to call upon suspended centre-half Virgil van Dijk.

Henderson admits the Dutch defender will be a big miss but believes the Reds have suitable cover to counter his absence.

Article continues below

“He is a massive miss, he has played almost every game this season. You can see how important he is for us as a team,” said the Liverpool captain.

“At the same time, I feel as though we have enough quality in the team to be able to cope with it and not be relying on our two centre-halves to defend, it's up to the whole team to do it together.

“Whoever plays there I'm sure will know the role and what's expected of them but of course he will be a big loss.”

Close