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When it comes to Liverpool’s transfers in recent years, there is no denying that there have been more hits than misses.

But the £53million deal to sign Naby Keita from RB Leipzig in August 2017 has yet to reap the kind of reward that other moves have.

A combination of injuries and inconsistent form, mean that the 26-year-old has been unable to establish himself as a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s side.

In the season that has just finished, Keita managed just 10 Premier League appearances, with his last coming in the victory at Wolves back in March.

That was despite the fact that Fabinho and Jordan Henderson both had periods either out of the side with injury, or deputising at centre back.

Naby Keita struggled for opportunities with Liverpool last season

Those limited opportunities have led some to question whether his future lies away from Liverpool.

But Keita’s former Leipzig teammate Willi Orban believes that the Guinea international needs to be given special treatment in order to get the best out of him.

“Naby is a very sensitive guy who has to feel completely comfortable in his environment in order to perform well," Orban told Goal.

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"You have to take special care of him, talk to him a lot. He needed breaks from time to time, when he was with us.

"The Premier League is certainly even more demanding in this regard.”

However, asked about Keita’s abilities, Orban was under no illusion about just how much he can add to Liverpool’s midfield.

"Keita with his extraordinary ball control, his dynamism and his finishing. He was just complete."

The Liverpool manager believes there were a number of factors behind Keita’s bit-part role last term and is confident that he will remain with the club moving forward.

“It’s a lot of things in this year, it was really tricky,” he said at the end of the season. “We had to change so often and then in the moment you try to go for stability, it’s really like this and that’s what we need.

Willi Orban played alongside Naby Keita at RB Leipzig

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“Then on top of that, then making two or three changes in midfield just doesn’t work out in football.

“People say, ‘Try it.’ We would try definitely if we could be not only nearly sure that it could work out, but you need stability in a football team.

Klopp continued: “Naby trains really well in the moment, I have to say.

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"He trains really well, like a lot of other players, and looks really good in training. But this year now we need stability.

“We will make changes from time to time definitely, but it’s not like we pick now seven, eight, nine players to change and say, ‘Maybe we can win it like this.’

“The long-term future of Naby Keita, from my point of view, is here, yes.”