Ralph Hasenhuttl believes Naby Keita is yet to hit the heights of last season as the midfielder prepares to swap RB Leipzig for Liverpool in 2018-19.
The two clubs came to an agreement over Keita’s transfer back in August, with Jurgen Klopp’s side reportedly triggering a £48million release clause.
Rumours that Keita’s move could be brought forward to January were quickly quashed by Leipzig, who are third in the Bundesliga, level on points with second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
Hasenhuttl concedes Keita has been less impressive in 2017-18 but sees no reason to punish the 22-year-old.
“Naby is not as consistent this year as last year,” Hasenhuttl told Bild.
“It’s important that he brings his expectations back to normal levels.
“I’m not one who wants to motivate with fear. I don’t immediately get the whip out in the classic sense and I don’t kick the players non-stop.”