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RTK view: Naby Keita forces a sale with reported contract demand

Naby Keita will force Liverpool into a sale with his reportedly contract demand. The Guinean is taking a strong stance, it seems.

Christian Falk told Bild this week that Naby Keita has a contract demand – he wants to play more often as a starting player. That demand is important, too, as Keita’s contract expires in 2023.

Talks will likely begin soon but it sounds as though Keita is already putting pressure on Liverpool. We’re not sure it’s going to go smoothly, however, and this may well result in the 26-year-old leaving the club in a high-profile sale.

Keita makes contract demand

We don’t see how Keita forces his way into this Liverpool team long-term. You can actually quite easily lay out why, too – he’s 26. The player is right in his prime, has been at the club for years, and still isn’t a regular.

It’s difficult to see, then, how that changes in the next couple of years. Not unless the likes of Jordan Henderson and Thiago fall apart and can’t go anymore.

It might even take both of those players dropping out of the team for Keita to get in, in fact. Because it seems that Harvey Elliott is already above the more senior midfielder in the pecking order.

He started against Chelsea, after all, as well as Leeds United – Keita started both on the bench. Being behind a player eight years your junior is a tough spot to be in.

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And that’s before we consider the rise of Curtis Jones. He could be ahead of Keita before the season is out.

This isn’t us saying that Keita has no chance – of course he does. He’s got plenty of talent and the ability to start for Liverpool. The problem is that the club can’t possibly make that guarantee.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Right now, moving Keita into a starting spot ahead of Henderson, Thiago and Elliott makes the team worse. If it didn’t, he’d already be starting ahead of these players.

He’s got to hit new heights and show the consistency that we haven’t seen from him before. That’s the only way and while Liverpool will back him on that, they have to see it from him first.

Keita scored a wonderful goal at the weekend that brought promise. Then he got injured in midweek after kicking the turf too hard. It’s all very inevitable.

So if Keita is sticking to this demand, we imagine Liverpool will sell him next summer. There will be just one year left on his deal, no guarantee that things will finally click, and moving him on for a fee makes the most sense.

This isn’t just Keita asking for more games – he’s putting his Liverpool career on the line. We’re not sure that results in a long-term stay.

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