Jurgen Klopp admits to having made Naby Keita “worse” on the back of his 2018 transfer from RB Leipzig, but the Liverpool boss has been impressed by the progress made by a Guinean in the 2020-21 campaign.
The Reds invested heavily in another creative midfielder when raiding the Bundesliga market, with a £48 million ($61m) deal put in place.
Keita initially struggled to live up to expectations at Anfield, with questions asked of his form and fitness throughout a disrupted and inconsistent debut campaign.
As other new additions have thrived around him, the 25-year-old has been billed by some as the most notable transfer failure of Klopp’s reign to date.
Patience is, however, being rewarded in the present, with Keita having earned a regular place in the Reds’ plans.
He has started both of Liverpool’s Premier League outings in 2020-21 and figured in 15 of their last 17 fixtures in the English top-flight.
Klopp believes potential is being unlocked in a player whose ability was never in doubt, with the German tactician accepting his share of the blame for the slow start made to life on Merseyside.
“Naby is doing really well,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.
“For some reasons it was in the beginning... well not really in the beginning, in the very beginning it was very good.
“I didn’t speak a lot to him about football, I just wanted to let him do his natural stuff so that was really good.
“Then I started coaching him and he got worse! That’s maybe not the main reason but then he was a bit unlucky with injuries, that was the main reason.
“Naby had to learn the language, to feel really settled in the squad and all these kind of things.
“He is doing really well, we take care of him. He came on [against Lincoln City], he played now the first two league games, so everything is fine.”
Keita has now taken in 64 appearances for Liverpool in total, registering seven goals, and has played his part in Champions League, Club World Cup and Premier League title-winning squads.