Micah Richards has praised Jurgen Klopp for his ‘brilliant’ man-management and how the Liverpool boss handled Naby Keita against Atletico Madrid, in his column for the Daily Mail.

Keita endured a troublesome first-half at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday during the Reds’ Champions League group stage visit. The 26-year-old was partly at fault for both of the Colchoneros’ goals as they fought back from 2-0 down.

Klopp reacted by replacing Keita at the break, but also impressed Richards with how the Liverpool boss shouldered any blame. Stating, via the Liverpool Echo: “First and foremost, it was nothing to do with Naby – we just had to defend the right side a bit better.”

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Klopp has additionally impressed Richards with how the Liverpool boss makes each of his players feel important. Noting how James Milner speaks with effusive praise for the coach.

“[Milner]’s told me that Klopp is the nicest, most humble coach he has worked with,” Richards wrote. “There is never any uncertainty. He tells his team what he wants from them and how he expects them to play. Everyone is made to feel important.

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“Look at how he dealt with Naby Keita in Madrid on Tuesday. Nobody would say that Keita had a good game, despite scoring a superb goal. But Klopp didn’t criticise him – he never does criticise his players in public. He took the blame himself for any shortcomings. That is brilliant management.”

Liverpool have a good guy in manager Klopp

Liverpool have and will continue to benefit from having a manager in Klopp who makes his players feel important and protected, and earns the admiration of pundits like Richards.

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The German’s clear instructions for what he expects in games also lets players perform as close to their best. But that cannot always be the case, as seen on Wednesday with Keita caught out for two goals.

Yet Klopp reflected another aspect of his style that Richards admires by shouldering Keita of the blame for Liverpool’s mishaps. With the £192k-a-week manager putting himself and his tactics in the firing line.

Klopp will however want to see Keita respond, as well, and learn from his half-time exit at Atletico Madrid. As he can only protect his players so much and for so long.

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