The Times says the gifted Guinean was 19 and plying his trade for RB Salzburg in Austria when a Liverpool scout was dispatched to to watch their Champions League qualifier against Malmo of Sweden.
Liverpool scouts continued to track Keita with the Austrian side and watched him blossom into their best player.
The club's senior scouting team of Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter started to become more involved with detailing his progress.
It was former Reds boss Gerard Houllier who had recommended Keita to the Austrians, and they quickly heeded the Frenchman's advice by snaring him from FC Istres in 2014.
Having moved onto RB Leipzig, Liverpool would eventually make their interest known publicly in the summer of 2017.