It’s starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day when it comes to injury updates from Jurgen Klopp regarding Naby Keita. Namely, that the Guinean midfielder will not be available to partake in Liverpool’s first real challenge in this early section of the Premier League campaign against Arsenal.
It isn’t quite a blow, per se, given that Liverpool’s midfield has not included The Admiral through much of the last few months given his earlier injury struggles. It is, however, a lengthening of the frustration and angst for fans eager to see the midfield dynamo get back to doing what he does best. And given that, as has been oft stated, he came down with his major injury at a period where he was starting gain influence and a footing in the general play of Liverpool’s midfield, the eagerness to see him back on is only further stoked by those memories.
To further stoke the ire of fans is that sacked Guinean coach Paul Put has received a lifetime ban from the Guinean Football Federation for what it calls “ethics breaches.” There isn’t anything reported on the details of what the breaches are, but many Liverpool fans will recall that when Keita received the call-up to represent Guinea at the African Cup of Nations, there were whispers that this was all well-ahead of what Liverpool’s own medical staff indicated would be appropriate recovery for the injury he’d sustained. Put played Keita anyway and, well, the rest is history.
Regardless, Naby remains unavailable this weekend with no firm timeline for his return. Though, as if sensing that there was likely a bit of angst around Keita’s injury, Klopp did drop this little nugget in his comments:
“’Long-term’ doesn’t mean six months, it means a couple of weeks.”
Well. So, let the fire of hope burn once more in your hearts, Reds! Because while it’ll be hard to fully pin down a firm return date for The Admiral until, I imagine, we are quite literally on the eve of his full inclusion in the squad, it still means that, barring any set back, we can expect him as early as the match right after the first international break. Which would be great, great news for all of us in Naby’s Navy. (That’s what I’m calling is fan club and you can’t make me change it.)