Football News

Naby Keita could make shock Liverpool return for Champions League final, claims Guinea boss

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 13:21, 19 May 2019

Naby Keita could make a surprise return to Liverpool’s squad for the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur.

The 24-year-old Guinean midfielder sustained a groin injury in their semi-final 3-0 first-leg defeat away to Barcelona which subsequently ruled him out for the remainder of the Premier League season.

How has Keita fared since joining The Reds: Four things to know…

  1. Keita joined Liverpool from RB Leipzig in July 2018, a year after the move was agreed.
  2. He’s not been able to hold down a regular starting berth under Jurgen Klopp.
  3. A big part of the reason has been a troublesome injury record; he’s so far missed 11 games.
  4. To date he’s made 33 appearances in all competitions, registering three goals and one assist.

It came as a blow to manager Klopp who in recent weeks saw Keita start to embrace his new surroundings and settle well into Liverpool’s midfield.

Klopp wasn’t the only manager upset, a lengthy spell on the sidelines was set to rule Keita out of representing Guinea at next month’s Africa Cup of Nations being held in Egypt.

National team boss Paul Put would be losing his most valuable player as Syli Nationale take part in their first AFCON since 2015.

However, ahead of the championship, Put has given an update on the Conakry-born footballer which should pique the interest of Liverpool’s support.

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“He consulted his doctor in Switzerland as I said at the beginning. He is in treatment with his doctor,” he told Foot224.

“It is said that he will maybe in two weeks [be ready] to resume [training] with the group.

“It is even possible that he is in the group for the Champions League final if what I have been told is true.

“We will see. That’s the news that I got.”

A fairytale ending?

Since joining from RB Leipzig last summer, a year after the move was initially agreed, Keita’s time at Anfield has been stop-start. A combination of injuries (which has seen him miss 11 games to date) and Klopp often preferring his tried and tested midfield combo have meant the Guinean has only featured across 33 matches in all competitions.

However, in the weeks leading up to his latest setback, Keita was starting to hold down a place in Klopp’s starting XI and would even score Liverpool’s fastest Premier League goal. It’s also worth remembering Klopp opted for him in that Camp Nou semi-final first leg meeting with Barcelona.

No doubt playing in a Champions League final is spurring Keita on to accelerate his fitness as he bids to sign of on his debut season at Anfield in style.

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