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Klopp hails Keita's 'crucial' Liverpool form ahead of Champions League clash vs Villarreal

19:15 GMT+3 02/05/2022
Naby Keita of Liverpool and Guinea.
The midfielder has featured eight times in the competition this season and managed to score one goal, which earned his manager's praises

Jurgen Klopp has underlined the importance of Naby Keita for Liverpool as the team prepares to play Villarreal in the second leg of the Uefa Champions League semi-final scheduled for Tuesday at Ceramica Stadium.

The English side have a two-goal advantage after the first leg at Anfield and will be targeting a favourable result to make it to the final.

Keita has already featured in eight matches in the competition this season, scoring one goal in the process.

Last weekend, the Guinea midfielder scored the only goal of the match to hand his team maximum points in the Premier League away to Newcastle.

The German tactician is happy with the 27-year-old's form ahead of the game away to the Yellow Submarine.

"Long may that [form] continue because that is crucial, that is key to everything," Klopp said in a presser ahead of Tuesday's game.

"If you have the talent and the skill set of Naby Keita and you are not fit, then nobody sees it, that’s how it is. If you then come back not in the best possible shape, all these kinds of things, that’s normal physically.

"The player was never in doubt, not for a second, because he’s outstanding. It’s good he is now available. It’s a good option, a very good option to have. Played at the weekend was obviously a really good game, so we’ll see how long we will use him tomorrow. A very good option."

The German tactician insists he has an exceptional squad but went on to state that his team will also need luck to make it to the final.

"You never know if you will reach a semi-final again if we ever have a chance again to go to the final – you never know," Klopp continued.

"We have an exceptional team here and nothing is [taken] for granted, you need luck in these moments, all these kind of things, so you better treat it carefully and be ready – but we will.

"We will be ready. We really wanted to be where we are and we want to go to the final. But if Villarreal is better than us and beats us with a result which qualifies them for the final, then congratulations and that's it.

"But between now and then, 95 or whoever knows how many minutes to play. I'm looking forward to it."

After winning the League Cup, the Reds are chasing the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League titles. They trail Manchester City by one point with four games left in the league, while they face Chelsea in the FA Cup final.