Ex-Liverpool star Naby Keita views Jurgen Klopp like a dad (Picture: Getty)
Naby Keita has passed on his best wishes to Jurgen Klopp after the German announced he would be departing Liverpool in the summer, revealing he views his former manager like a father.
The news came as an almighty shock to Liverpool fans and rival supporters alike, with the 56-year-old deciding to step down after nine trophy-laden years at Anfield.
Klopp will hope to bow out on a high at the end of the campaign and the Reds find themselves in a strong position at the midway stage, sitting five points clear of champions Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
The Merseyside giants are also fighting for honours in the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, with Klopp’s men storming to a comprehensive 5-2 defeat of Norwich to reach the fifth round at the weekend.
Klopp brought Keita to Liverpool from RB Leipzig back in 2018 and the 28-year-old midfielder went on to make 129 appearances for the club across five seasons, winning seven pieces of silverware.
And while the Guinea international left Liverpool to join Werder Bremen as a free agent last June, he had nothing but good words to say about his old boss as he reflected on the news with RMC Sport.
‘I’m not on the social media networks but when they told me, I had tears in my eyes,’ Keita told the French publication ahead of Guinea’s AFCON quarter-final clash with DR Congo.
Klopp signed Keita from RB Leipzig in 2018 (Picture: Getty)
‘He took me to Liverpool as his son and I consider him my dad.
‘I wish him the best for the rest of his life. I’ll try to write to him afterwards.
‘Such is life, I bumped into him and I wasn’t disappointed. We got trophies.’
Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, has said that Liverpool’s squad have Klopp’s impending departure ‘hard to take’ after telling them in private.
‘It’s a hard one to take, because the manager means so much for us, to me, to the club, to the whole Premier League I think,’ the Liverpool and Netherlands defender said.
‘But he made the decision for him and his family. It was always going to be a tough one and it was definitely the case.
‘He told us in private of course, and all of us were together. Like I said, it’s a hard one to take but our mindset is to focus on business.
We have a lot of targets still to achieve this year and why not finish the season on a high and together with celebrations for the boss as well?’
Van Dijk added: ‘I think how we always try to manage noise from the outside. Of course this is massive, it’s massive news in football. For us, it was also a very big day. But we have big targets this year and that’s definitely stressed by the manager as well.
‘For us and for me personally as well, I want to make sure the rest of the boys think like that too. I think that’s the case as well. We all want to achieve so much and that mindset was already there since pre-season and that doesn’t change.
‘It will maybe even give you an extra boost to do that extra or maybe enjoy it a little bit even more together and make the last part of the season, the last bit of the manager’s time at the club, the best time he’s ever had. That’s what we strive for and that’s why it’s business as usual.’
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