Liverpool midfielder Naby Keïta was labelled a “top, top player” today by Reds boss Jürgen Klopp after the Guinea international helped break the deadlock against a stubborn Aston Villa defence.
Keïta played 85 minutes of the 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Villa at Anfield, laying on the assist for Sadio Mané’s opening goal.
When asked at his post-match press conference about what he thought of Keïta’s performance, Klopp said:
“Naby is a top player, a top player. It was a difficult game today, but he was really good and helped us a lot. Not only with the assist; you could always play the pass to him, he always offers, he was in smart positions. I liked the game a lot today and it’s just a good example of how good he can be. It was of course not his best game, but it was good and I am just happy when a player is in shape like this and can perform like this because we play again in three days, which is tough. Three days later we play again and four days later again. It is a tough period, it is for all [teams] tough, but you need to find solutions for the different moments and today Naby was a super solution.”
Keïta’s incisive pass to Mané in the Villa penalty area was crucial in finding a way to penetrate what had been a well-structured, resolute defence from Dean Smith’s team.
Young Scouse midfielder Curtis Jones made it 2-0 in the 89th minute, just 24 hours after signing his new contract at the club. It was his first-ever Premier League goal on what turned out to be a memorable weekend for Jones.
The win stretched Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table to 23 points with Manchester City losing 1-0 away to Southampton later on Sunday evening.
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