Between the Lines: Is Jurgen Klopp set to repeat an old trick with Naby Keita?

Liverpool returned to winning ways on Saturday with a convincing 3-0 victory over Bournemouth – a game in which Jurgen Klopp continued to show faith in Naby Keita despite his poor showing against West Ham United prior to the weekend.

What’s the word?

The summer signing from RB Leipzig has struggled to live up to the huge expectation which surrounded his arrival.

Mediocre performances and a general struggle to establish a distinguishable identity within Liverpool’s midfield have seen his reputation diminish this season, but Klopp’s latest comments on his development suggest more experience at this level will enable him to discover his best form, as per The Times.

“We will probably see a couple of bad halves from Naby in the future, that’s completely normal. But it was clear the whole week the second half was really important to him.

“There is still a lot to come because he is still adapting. Sometimes it takes longer. People lose patience. That’s normal, but we don’t.”

Can Keita follow Oxlade-Chamberlain’s footsteps?

The Guinea international may well take some confidence from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s start to life at Anfield. Initially, the former Arsenal man looked out of sorts and struggled to adapt to his new surroundings.

Supporters questioned the club’s decision, but the England’s international form took an unexpected turn just at the moment in which supporters were beginning to lose faith. Oxlade-Chamberlain established himself as a key player in Liverpool’s midfield and shifted popular opinion while thriving in a box-to-box midfield role.

It must be considered that, unlike Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain already had plenty of Premier League experience and he still struggled within the early stages of his Liverpool career.

With that in mind, it’s fair to say that the former RB Leipzig man’s form should be taken with a pinch of salt, and Klopp’s recent comments suggest that he expects him to blossom as his career develops at Anfield.

Supporters may well be underwhelmed by Keita’s progress at Liverpool so far but Klopp’s willingness to be patient and trust in the summer recruit could eventually facilitate a similar rise in prominence to the one Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed during his time on Merseyside.

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