Sunday Jul 08, 2018. 12:00
Guinea international Naby Keita made is an unofficial debut for English Premier League giants Liverpool FC on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds thumped English National League outfit Chester FC 7-0 in a club friendly match which was played at the Swansway Chester Stadium in England.
Speaking after the game, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp admitted that Keita and Brazil international Fabinho had struggled in their first week of pre-season as the Reds began their preparations for the upcoming 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
Keita and Fabinho, who are both central midfielders, recently joined Liverpool from German side RB Leipzig and French giants AS Monaco respectively.
“It's hard for them. You know we always measure the heart rates and, if you don't speak the language, you already have a 100 [bpm heartbeat] when you listen to me! That's how the first week is but it's all good,” Klopp told the club’s official website.
“Fabinho, today, was not too easy, it was not a good half and it was difficult to find his [way] in the game. Naby did much better second half but that's how it is. We know about the quality, we don't test these boys, a few others had a test. The young lads need to show up in games like this, 100 per cent, but they have another two/three games to do so.
The German tactician also discussed what Keita and Fabinho will bring to the English giants, who reached last season’s UEFA Champions League final where they lost to Spain’s Real Madrid.
“Quality. Naby comes from Leipzig, knows the football philosophy, it's a very similar one. [He is] very sharp in the challenges, very quick in mind in these situations for counter-pressing, it looks kind of natural, which is good,” he added.
“Monaco played a completely different style so Fabinho probably needs more time to adapt to that. But he is a fantastic football player as well; a good passer, speed is good, challenges are good - a proper defensive midfield player with the opportunity to be [in defence] as well, which is good. If you want to be part of our squad you need to be good, and these two boys are.”
Liverpool’s second pre-season game will be against local rivals and English League Two side Tranmere Rovers at the Prenton Park on Tuesday.