Jürgen Klopp shared his favourite memories of Naby Keita's time at Liverpool as he paid tribute to the departing midfielder.
Keita will leave the Reds this summer after five years at Anfield during which he played his part in Klopp’s men lifting a series of major honours.
Those successes included winner’s medals in the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and Premier League for the Guinean across 2019 and 2020.
And he then made 40 appearances during a 2021-22 campaign that saw Liverpool come close to a quadruple, lifting the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup with Keita in the starting XI for both finals.
Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “Naby is an exceptional footballer, what a player he is. Maybe one or two injuries too many just hindered him from getting really through.
“But if you go through – and I would really recommend that – if you go through our really big games of Liverpool FC you might be surprised how often Naby was in the starting line-up and how often he played incredibly well.
“It was a bit a shame, when it was really going well then a little injury here, a little muscle thing there. That was not too cool and that is probably what people might remember as well, but in his moment he is world-class, without a shadow of a doubt.
“And I wish him the best of luck because he as well won absolutely everything here at Liverpool, which not a lot of people can say.”
Keita’s goal collection for Liverpool includes the club’s fastest ever in the Premier League, with his 2019 strike against Huddersfield Town netted just 15 seconds after kick-off.
The No.8 also provided sumptuous volleys against Crystal Palace and Atletico Madrid, as well as the opener in the unforgettable 5-0 win at Old Trafford last season.
Recalling his favourite Keita moments, Klopp said: “For sure [against] Huddersfield, a very early goal in the game – a high press, going there and going between and finishing the situation off.
“It was a high-press situation and in the end Naby finished it off. It must have been at that time one of the really earliest Premier League goals I think, that’s at least how it is in my mind.
“A lot of other goals [were] fantastic shots, funny celebrations when everybody looked really surprised – Naby, this little man shooting like a real thunderbolt and you see him just standing there and smiling. It was absolutely great.”
Klopp finished: “Again, just the best of luck for the rest of his life because he deserves it.”