It was unclear what exactly happened with Naby Keita during Liverpool’s Champions League match against Napoli but severe back pain forced the Guinean midfielder off in the first half. There was a challenge with Lorenzo Insigne preceding Keita sitting down on the pitch but it wasn’t immediately noticeable that something was wrong. The extent of the discomfort on the player’s face showed while the medical staff examined the situation.
Then they brought out the stretcher. You don’t just bring out the stretcher. Those stretcher carriers aren’t just going to carry anybody. It’s got to be legit.
Keita was taken to Fuorigrotta Hospital to be tested after the match. The 23-year-old may even remain under hospital care overnight but Liverpool are reportedly planning for the player to return to England with the team on Thursday.
The club are adamant that checking Keita into the hospital was a precautionary measure and nothing further should be read into the decision. More will likely be revealed of the injury when the team get back to Melwood. For now, we remain as in the dark as Jürgen Klopp after the game.
“It’s his back, that’s what I’ve heard,” said Klopp. “I don’t know exactly the extent of it yet. We have to wait.”
There’s a world where Keita recovers in time for the match against Manchester City on Sunday. But back pain for any player can limit motion and impede their effectiveness on the pitch. Keita’s driving bursts may be hampered if he’s rushed into action too quickly.
A lot can happen in three days, though. I wonder if that very useful horse placenta trick works on backs.