🔴 EOTK Insider Opinion: 70% of Liverpool fans suspect he's fallen out with Liverpool but... What is going on with Naby Keita? 🤷
Omitted from Jurgen Klopp's Champions League group stage squad but selected in Guinea's for September's international friendlies - is Keita injured or is something more deep-rooted going on?
So, what is going on with Naby Keita then?
The facts are:
He played the final five minutes of the Community Shield against Manchester City and was an unused substitute against Crystal Palace, in the Premier League.
He has not been selected as part of squads for the Champions League group stage (which end on the 2nd of November).
He has been called up by Guinea for September’s international friendly fixtures.
Since the season curtain raiser that saw Liverpool claim victory over Pep Guardiola’s team, there have been a string of reasons given as to why our No.8 hasn’t featured for the Reds.
His absence for the Fulham game was explained as a non-Covid related illness and he was back in training, ahead of an anticipated return for the Crystal Palace game.
The 27-year-old was an unused substitute during the game against Patrick Vieira’s side but, despite training ground videos ahead of the trip to Old Trafford, he was out of the squad again for the clash with Manchester United.
Jurgen Klopp could only confirm that the midfielder had picked up an injury and that we were waiting on scans after the match. Before we faced Bournemouth the boss would only then say that it was a muscle injury but little more - only that it was “not 100% clear”.
Before Newcastle, we heard that the former RB Leipzig man was still out and ahead of the Merseyside derby - our boss confirmed that it was a muscle injury and that “he will be out for a while”.
As the Reds headed to Naples, the latest update we were provided was that he’d suffered a muscle problem and will be out for a while, like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (perhaps giving some context on a time frame).
Players get injured a lot and in Naby Keita, we have a player that plenty of Liverpool fans have become used to seeing on the sidelines.
The decision for the club to omit the midfielder from our Champions League group stage squad, seemed to all but confirm that this muscle injury would see him out of action - at least up to the 2nd of November (when the group stages end).
However; this has all been blown into more confusion thanks to the decision for our No.8 to be selected in his nation’s squad, for the upcoming international friendlies against Algeria and the Ivory Coast.
The Guinea boss, Kaba Diawara, confirmed that: "He is recovering from his injury. His situation is improving and he is even ahead of schedule".
This doesn’t sound like the issues of a player who is out for the next two months, so who is wrong?
We held a poll on our Twitter page (@empireofthekop), asking supporters what they thought was going on with the midfielder.
Over 3,000 supporters voted and:
6.8% thought Keita is fit to play now
6.8% also thought that he’ll be fit in two weeks time
13.3% said that Guinea have got it wrong
73.1% were in the majority of thinking that the player has fallen out with Liverpool
That’s what you think and it’s hard to argue against the fact that these injuries have been nothing short of well timed, around possible transfer rumours that have been aplenty this summer.
With speculation of the club offering Naby a new contract, reports that he wasn’t happy with game time and wanted to move away, also some stating that he could be used as part of a possible deal with Jude Bellingham (with a move to Dortmund possibly happening as soon as the January transfer window) - it’s all been a bit mad.
The most timely injury came right before the game with Manchester United but Jurgen Klopp was quick to fight back on rumours suggesting that the 27-year-old wanted to leave and we have no reason to doubt the boss.
It’s certainly easier to tell the fans that a player has a nondescript muscle injury with no reported comeback date, rather than saying he doesn’t want to play and has fallen out with the club.
It seems as though, as Liverpool fans, we have three options on what we should believe:
Believe the club - Naby is out for a ‘long time’ and Guinea have risked selecting the player because he’s so important to them. They’ll happily lose a spot in their squad, to risk the unlikely chance of having their captain involved in the next fixtures.
Believe Guinea - Keita is injured but will be 50/50 for games that are set to be played in two weeks time, meaning he will be back for the Reds in October. This doesn’t explain the Champions League squad omission though, as this is when Jordan Henderson and Ibou Konate are expected back but they are both in the squad.
Believe the fans - it’s clear that some of our supporters are reading between the lines here and think that there is no injury, our No.8 has fallen out with Liverpool and/or Jurgen Klopp because he wants to move away. The Guinea games will be crucial to prove or disprove this theory.
Really, the decision is up to you.
There’s no reason to doubt what Jurgen Klopp is telling us and, as we are in the midst of an injury crisis in the midfield, there’s no reason for him not to utilise the player if he is available.
Liverpool have been tremendously successful in the transfer market but, before this season began, Naby Keita would be universally judged as the worst big money transfer made by the club - under our German boss.
That’s not to say he’s been a travesty for the Reds but that it perhaps hasn’t been a move that has been as successful as all parties had hoped and expected it to be.
With less than a year on his contract, we may see January as the time when the club cuts ties with the No.8.
Whatever the reasoning behind all of that is: with a player who has been below (a very highly anticipated) par, a poor injury record and constant rumours about his future - maybe it is time to say goodbye.
We expect the club to bolster the midfield in the upcoming transfer windows and if we are in a position to have players back to full fitness and be able to bring another couple of players in, this may well be the move that the club could make.
Having said all of this though, he could be back in two weeks time and be signing a new contract within a month!
The truth is no one knows other than probably the player himself, so we’ll just have to sit on the sidelines (something Naby isn’t unfamiliar to) and wait patiently to see what happens.
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