Naby Keita is looking forward to reuniting with his “big brother” Sadio Mane at Liverpool next season, with the Senegal international helping him settle in when the pair were together at Red Bull Salzburg.
Liverpool have a deal in place to sign Keita, 22, from RB Leipzig next summer, with the midfielder set to link up with old friend Mane, 25, at Anfield.
The duo are former Salzburg teammates and Keita says it was Mane who made life easier for him following his arrival at the Austrian club.
“At first, I wasn’t starting and it was very frustrating,” Keita told Goal. “I didn’t like it and it made the settling-in period harder. But Sadio said: ‘My little brother, stay calm. Your chance will come and when it does, you will make the most of it.’
“He helped me with everything — the language, making friends, understanding the club and the city. And, of course, he was right. Once I was put into the team, I showed my qualities and everything went much smoother.
“Salzburg improved me as a player and I learnt so much there, I got a really tactical education. Sadio was important for me, he still is. To me, he’s my big brother. He really likes to learn new things, to improve and to push himself and we are the same in this way. He’s a good example for me.”
Mane is excited about the prospect of lining up alongside Guinea international Keita at Liverpool next season, and says he helped persuade him to move to Anfield.
“He is a really special player and is like family to me,” Mane added. “We were close at Salzburg and still keep in touch. I enjoy watching him and look forward to helping him again when he comes next year.
“He asked me about Liverpool and I told him this is an amazing club with talented players, a great manager and lots of ambition. The city and the people are really nice and he will feel at home here.”
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