Fabinho and Keita each played 45 minutes of the Reds’ first pre-season game of the summer
Jurgen Klopp was impressed with Naby Keita’s Liverpool debut but admitted Fabinho, who also arrived at Anfield this summer, will need more time to adjust to the team’s playing style.
Keita and Fabinho played 45 minutes of the Reds’ first pre-season friendly on Saturday – a 7-0 victory away at National League North side Chester.
Fabinho, who signed for Liverpool last month for around £40million, started the match before Keita came on at half-time when the Champions League runners-up were 2-0 up.
“It’s hard for them,” Klopp said of his two new midfielders. “You can see. We always measure the heart rates and if you don’t speak the language then you already have 100 when you only listen to me. So that’s how the first week is. But it’s all good.
“[For] Fabinho today it was not too easy. How I said, it was not a good half and then it’s difficult to find him in the game. Naby felt much better in the second half. That’s how it is.
“We know about the quality. We don’t test these boys. A few others have tests — the young lads need to show up in games like this, 100 percent. They, for sure, have another two, three games to do so and then we will see.”
Asked what he thought Fabinho and Keita would bring to Liverpool, Klopp continued: “Naby comes from Leipzig and knows the football philosophy that’s a similar one.
“[He’s] very sharp in the challenges, very quick in mind in these situations of counter-pressing, [his] impulses look kind of natural, which is good.
“Monaco played a completely different style, so Fabinho probably needs a few more days. That’s how it is.
“But he’s a fantastic football player, a good passer, his challenges are good – a proper defensive midfielder with the option of being a No. 8 as well, his heading is good.
“So if you want to be a part of our squad then you need to be good and these two boys are.”
Unsurprisingly Liverpool coasted to victory in a game which also saw Loris Karius – who made two costly errors during the Reds’ Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid – receive a standing ovation from the Reds fans.
The game happened at the same time as England’s quarter-final victory over Sweden at the World Cup and Klopp was full of praise for the Liverpool members of Gareth Southgate’s squad – Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“So far he [Henderson] has played a brilliant World Cup. So mature, a proper leader in the team.
“You can see this team is offensively really skilled and you need a few serious people in the team to keep it together and I like how he is doing that while still being involved offensively. He had a few wonderful passes, controls the game and I really like it.
“Trent [Alexander-Arnold] won his first cap before the World Cup and then played his first World Cup game. I waited 51 years for that and he has done it already after 18. He did really well.
“I am happy for the boys but I am happy for Gareth [Southgate] as he is doing a fantastic job. England and Belgiums managers are doing an incredible job. I like it.”