Naby Keïta has been out injured for several weeks, with Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp going so far as to keep him and fellow perpetually injured midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain off of the initial Champions League squad list. However, as these things tend to go, Keïta’s national team manager, Kaba Diawara, insisted that the playmaker would be available to join his Guinean compatriots in playing matches against Algeria and Ivory Coast this month.
“Naby Keïta is injured and he is recovering from his injury,” he said. “His situation is improving and he is even ahead of schedule. We took a group of 24 players precisely to give him a chance to be able to count on him because he is a very important player for us, on and off the pitch, he is our captain.”
The matches in question are both friendlies, which makes it even sillier to try and force his progress non-competitive games.
Klopp appears to share this confusion. When giving his lengthy list of player injuries, he was asked about this discrepancy between what Diawara said and his own prognosis.
“No, I don’t expect him to go on international duty. The expected return date was somewhere in October and that is why we had to make the decision [with the Champions League squad] and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the same,” he said.
It’s unlikely that, given the current state of their midfield, Klopp would be strategically forcing one of his players to fake an injury for the whole start of the season in order to avoid international duty. We’ll see how this turns out, but it doesn’t look like Liverpool are prepared to let Keïta go for this round of games.