With the news that Naby Keita should be fit in time for Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the US, the Guinean midfielder knows that he needs to perform to his best, and soon.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Keita has now withdrawn from the ongoing AFCON with Guinea following the recurrence of an adductor problem. Keita originally picked up the injury in Liverpool’s defeat against Barcelona at Camp Nou and has been struggling to regain full fitness since.
From the outside looking in, it certainly appears that Keita was rushed back into action too soon by his country and should not have been taken to the AFCON tournament this summer.
However, the good news for Liverpool fans everywhere is that Keita has been told to take a break and return back for the club’s US tour later this month.
With seven other Liverpool midfielders vying for a starting place in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield three, Keita will be well aware that he must put his injury-hampered debut season behind him.
Keita only missed four games in two years at RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga (stats courtesy of transfermarkt) so he doesn’t appear to be a particularly injury-prone player. Yet, last season at Anfield, Keita was unavailable for nine games for The Reds due to injury.
Liverpool’s number eight had really come into form for Jurgen Klopp’s side in April 2019 but then he suffered the injury at Barcelona on May 1st.
If Keita can maintain his fitness over the summer and be in perfect shape for August, then his dynamism in the middle of the park will certainly make him an attractive option for Klopp.
At times, Klopp’s Liverpool team can struggle to break the lines between midfield and attack but players like Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain add that extra energy and running power to do just that.