Mane backs Keita to come good.
Byline: PAUL GORST Sports Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org @ptgorst
SADIO MANE has backed Naby Keita to prove his worth at Liverpool once he returns to full fitness.
The PS52m midfielder has been besieged by injuries since move from RB Leipzig, in the summer of last year, and hasn't kicked a ball competitively for the Reds for over four months.
A second-half cameo in the Community Shield aside, the Guinea international last turned out for Jurgen Klopp's side in the 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final back on May 1. An adductor problem at Camp Nou ended Keita's season early, before he pushed himself to get fit in time to be selected for Guinea's Africa Cup of Nations squad over the summer.
A miserable campaign in Egypt saw Keita, below, sent home after two games, however, after a picking up another injury, before a hip problem flared up during open training at the Besiktas Stadium a day before the Super Cup against Chelsea in Istanbul last month.
Despite a disappointing string of setbacks, Mane believes his close friend will develop into a top-class operator for the Reds when he eventually overcomes his injury problems.
In an interview with Complex, Mane tipped his former Salzburg team-mate to show why his arrival prompted so much excitement among the Liverpool supporters last summer.
"Since our days at Salzburg, he was always a good man, and a good friend to me," Mane said.
"He's such a great player, so I think everyone will see, once he gets over his injuries, how important he will be for this club.
"I have no doubts about him!" Keita stepped up his rehabilitation over the international break when he was placed on a speciallytailored training programme alongside team-mate Alisson Becker.