🔴EOTK Insider Opinion: 76% of fans want Liverpool to sell Naby Keïta after transfer bombshell dropped - but Jürgen Klopp would be insane to let him go 😱
Over 4,000 Liverpool fans had their say on the following poll: "Do Liverpool need to do more to keep Naby Keïta, or should we allow him to leave this summer?"
Naby Keïta has been a polarising figure at Anfield ever since he officially completed his £48m switch to Liverpool.
Many will no doubt remember that the Reds had agreed to let the No.8 remain with Red Bull Leipzig another season to help get the deal through - one that, at the time, looked yet another stunning piece of business from former sporting director Michael Edwards.
It’s fair to say that since his arrival in the summer of 2018, the Guinean international has struggled to meet the lofty expectations of a considerable proportion of Liverpool’s fanbase.
The numbers amassed thus far most easily portray the often expressed concerns (no matter how it might ignore context) of the disappointed fan.
RB Leipzig - 71 appearances (5,475 minutes); 17 goals; 15 assists = A goal/assist every 171.09 minutes
Liverpool - 117 appearances (6,012 minutes); 11 goals; 7 assists = A goal/assist every 334 minutes
Forming an opinion off the back of such stats is near entirely reductive, however, when one considers that the 27-year-old hasn’t been utilised in the exact same role as that which he enjoyed in Germany.
There’s also the reality to consider that with Julian Nagelsmann’s former outfit Keïta was the main man.
As such, judging him off the highlight reels we watched and rewatched at great length - as opposed to the demands of Liverpool’s system under Klopp - would be lunacy of the highest order.
On Merseyside, the midfielder has only hit over 20 league appearances twice in four seasons (25 in 2018/19 and 23 in 2021/22) compared to two in two in the Bundesliga (31 in 2016/17 and 27 in 2017/18).
Naby Keïta earned a reputation as one of the standout stars of the Bundesliga during his time in Germany
Availability has been a significant concern with injuries plaguing his time at Anfield - 62 games missed through injury is a hard number to ignore - and there have previously been issues with consistency.
Adding on top Georginio Wijnaldum’s reliability in the left-sided midfield role and the general technical brilliance of Thiago Alcântara (when available) and it’s clear that Keïta was left with something of a tall order to break into the first-XI on a consistent basis even when fit and contributing.
Still, Jürgen Klopp has persisted with the Guinean.
Being tactically mouldable has made Naby Keïta highly valuable for the German head coach. Able to press well in the final third, progress play and carry the ball effectively, amongst an array of other skills, the former Red Bull Salzburg star has singled himself out as an important cog in the Liverpool machine.
Making his second-highest tally of league appearances for Liverpool last term - critically, his biggest total (when taking into account all competitions) since 2018/19 (33 appearances & 1,815 minutes) with 40 appearances (2,083 minutes) - it was interesting to note that our No.8 delivered clearly his best season in the famous red shirt.
Still, concerns remain.
With a contract set to expire in 2023, a considerable number of fans have questioned the viability of extending the terms of a midfielder who has missed more than half of his total number of appearances for Liverpool through injury.
The arrival of Dr. Andreas Schlumberger in the medical department precipitated a campaign of generally superb fitness management, which Keïta, in particular, appeared to benefit from.
Handing a new contract to him would represent a risk, of course, and one that 76% of Liverpool fans (at the time of writing) wouldn’t be prepared to take.
According to Florian Plettenberg, it would seem more than possible that the player is destined for the exit door sooner or later.
Still, it would seem the height of insanity for Jürgen Klopp to grant his troublesome midfielder an exit so late in the summer window without a quality addition going the other way.
Jude Bellingham and Aurelien Tchouameni were both targeted by Liverpool this summer - with no success on either front
Positionally speaking, Liverpool would be foolish to allow a left-sided central midfielder to leave being fully aware of Thiago Alcantara’s injury struggles.
Curtis Jones does stand available as a backup option (when back fit), though the drop-off from our No.6 is more considerable as far as the Scouse Academy graduate is concerned right at this point in time.
That won’t necessarily always be the case and there is a great deal of potential there to unearth in the 21-year-old.
Regardless, there’s no questioning the fact that Naby Keïta’s departure this summer would be highly inconvenient for Liverpool as things currently stand.
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