Naby Keita defended after "not good enough" rant as Liverpool legends disagree

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Naby Keita has found a valuable ally among Liverpool’s legends after Dietmar Hamann’s scathing assessment the midfielder is “not good enough” for the Merseyside club.

The Guinean star was slammed by Hamann following his performance in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Hamann criticised Keita for being at fault for both of Atletico’s goals and questioned his defensive capabilities despite him scoring a superb volley to put Liverpool 2-0 ahead.

But former Liverpool striker Ian Rush has launched a staunch defence of Keita, insisting he still needs more time to adapt.

“There was a lot made of Naby Keita’s performance against Atletico,” Rush told Gambling.com . “We saw the best and worst of the Guinean midfielder but people forget he’s still pretty inexperienced.

Is Keita cut out for life at Liverpool? Have your say in the comments section below.

© Getty Images Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita is dividing opinion among the club’s former stars

“He scored a fantastic goal but then Atletico’s two goals came after he was beaten too easily in the build-up. I reckon Jurgen must have realised he needed more experience in this game and that’s why we saw Fabinho come on at half-time.

“I put it down to a lack of experience from Keita – I see him as a player with a lot to learn and a lot to improve on. Fabinho brought a lot more to the team once he came on.”

Keita’s time at Liverpool has been plagued by injuries but he has still featured in 84 matches in just over three years at the club.

His involvement has been very stop-start, though, yet Liverpool’s hierarchy may now be beginning to get concerned whether they will see the desired return on their £52.75m outlay.

Hamann certainly has his doubts, as he told talkSport the day after the Reds’ victory: “I’ve got to say, I think Keita was at fault for both goals. I know he’s had some injuries, but I don’t think he’s good enough for Liverpool.

“If you score a goal like he did, you should be full of confidence, you have to do your defensive duties and I get the feeling he just wants to play with the ball and when Liverpool have got possession.

“You just can’t do that and he’s not good enough to do that. The way he got beaten for the first two goals was just too easy.”

However, boss Jurgen Klopp continues to back the 26-year-old and is adamant his substitution was not just down to Keita’s display.

“First and foremost, it was nothing to do with Naby, we just had to defend the right side a bit better,” the Liverpool manager said.

“We were a bit too wide, but Naby scored a goal and stuff like this and I spoke to him already.

“It is really important to me that nobody thinks we played the first half, or the second part of the first half, because of Naby. Not at all.

“He is in really good shape, but he played three games for Guinea there and the last Premier League game 90 minutes and then [against Atletico].

“As I said, 45 minutes I think was absolutely right. I have spoken to him and it is all good.”

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