Naby Keita needs 'special care' to perform well at Liverpool, says former team-mate

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • 14 Jun 2021 12:00 BST
Naby Keita has failed to impress since moving from RB Leipzig in 2018

Naby Keita has failed to impress since moving from RB Leipzig in 2018

Naby Keita needs to receive "special" treatment in order to perform to his best at Liverpool, according to former RB Leipzig team-mate Willi Orban.

In the summer of 2018, Keita completed his £53 million transfer from RB Leipzig to Liverpool, having starred for the German side in the Bundesliga in the couple of seasons prior to the move.

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He was expected to come in and provide drive and energy in midfield, and although he has impressed on occasion, Keita has not been able to maintain any level of consistency, with injuries also hampering his development at Anfield.

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Since the start of the 2019/20 season he has started just 16 Premier League matches.

Orban describes Keita as a "sensitive" person who needs an arm around the shoulder every so often.

“Naby is a very sensitive guy who has to feel completely comfortable in his environment in order to perform well," he told Goal.

"You have to take special care of him, talk to him a lot. He needed breaks from time to time, when he was with us.

"The Premier League is certainly even more demanding in this regard.”

Naby is a very sensitive guy
- Willi Orban

Orban would name Keita as the best player he has played with, however, saying:

"Keita with his extraordinary ball control, his dynamism and his finishing. He was just complete."

Upamecano to Bayern

RB Leipzig have earned a reputation of developing younger players then selling them on for big money.

It happened last season with Timo Werner joining Chelsea and this summer they have already lost Dayot Upamecano, who will join Bayern Munich for the 2021/22 season.

Orban has discussed that move and has praised the Frenchman for his development on the pitch and off it as well.

“In the beginning he was very cautious but has now become a bit more open. When he feels comfortable, he talks a lot - also in German," Orban explained.

"In any case, the language is no longer a problem for him. He came as a child with no language skills and leaves as a seasoned man who sometimes gives commands in German during the game.”

Bayern secured Upamecano's signature after triggering his €42.5 million release clause.