Former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann has given a harsh reality check to current Reds star Naby Keita after his struggles to settle at Anfield.
The Guinea international looked a hugely promising talent at RB Leipzig, prompting Liverpool to spend big money to bring him to England back in 2018.
It remains to be seen if Keita can still rediscover his best form in Jurgen Klopp’s side, but Liverpool fans will no doubt be hoping to see the flair and talent that made him such a success in his time in the Bundesliga.
Hamann has called on Keita to do more to improve his game, however, as he spoke to The Athletic about his struggles on Merseyside.
In a harsh reality check for Keita, the former Germany international stated that the 25-year-old would be some way off Klopp’s starting line up if LFC were playing in a cup final tomorrow.
Hamann also called on Keita to be ‘smarter’, telling The Athletic: “Keita has shown glimpses of what he can do and the ability he’s got. He’s had short spells at Liverpool where you think ‘he’s really stepping up to it now’ but they just haven’t been sustained.
“There have been some injuries, which have held him back and some disappointing performances too. Is it the physicality? He needs to be a bit smarter at times.
“The game is a lot quicker in England. You have to think half a step ahead before you receive the ball or it gets taken off you. In terms of game management and his reading of the game, I don’t think he’s done as well as he needed to play a major role.
“The reality is that if Liverpool were playing in a final tomorrow Keita would be some way off the starting XI. Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all ahead of him.”