RB Leipzig manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has criticised Naby Keita's recent poor run of form, claiming the Liverpool bound midfielder has not been as consistent this season.
The 22-year-old midfielder starred during Leipzig's debut season in the Bundesliga, with Die Roten Bullen remarkably finishing in second place last season.
His outstanding performances earned him a reported £55m move to Anfield last summer, with the Guinea international set to link up with the Reds at the end of the current season.
He has suffered a dip in form this season though, with Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl publicly questioning his recent performances, claiming he is not the same player as last season.
"Naby is not as consistent this year as last year," Hasenhuttl told Sport Bild (via the Daily Mail). "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."
Keita was praised for his all-round defensive and attacking capabilities last season, prompting several leading European clubs to take interest. He scored eight goals and provided seven assists in 31 Bundesliga appearances, but his statistics are not as favourable this campaign.
He has managed just three goals and two assists in 16 games for Leipzig, who face Napoli in the Europa League first knockout round next week.
Nonetheless, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is believed to have considered bringing Keita to Anfield earlier than his scheduled arrival, with an additional £13m sweetener rumoured to have been in the offing.
The German side refused to sanction letting him go any earlier though, with the midfielder needed in Leipzig's fight to secure Champions League qualification once more.