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Jürgen Klopp Shines a Light on Naby Keita’s Recent Absence From the Team

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The Liverpool midfielder has been largely left out in recent weeks but Jürgen Klopp tells us it’s all been part of a master plan.

Liverpool v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Many a Liverpool supporter is bewildered by Jürgen Klopp’s refusal to include either Naby Keita or Xherdan Shaqiri in recent matches. Even when the team has desperately needed a creative spirit on the pitch the manager has opted to leave them on the bench.

Keita has had the longest start to his Liverpool career. The Guinean’s season has been inconsistent but just as it seemed Keita might be starting to become a real influencer in the team, the manager stopped picking him for the team.

Klopp addressed the absence of Keita from any meaningful action of late, putting it down to tactics and a solid midfield core that Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho have on lock down.

“It’s just that we have to think about a lot of things before a game,” Klopp said.

“We played quite a few teams with really good set-pieces, stuff like that. We needed to make sure that we had the right line up and set up for that.

“Naby is actually in a good moment and has trained well. It’s only been the last three games he didn’t play too much.

“The team is in a good moment and we feel in a good moment so it’s difficult if things are working out well in midfield.

“If we play the system we usually play most of the time then there are only three positions. Somebody has to be out but it’s all good. They are all fit and we can use them all.”

Burnley is a big-time set piece team so I suppose that doesn’t bode well for Keita’s chances on Sunday. But a bit more creativity from midfield is needed in order for Liverpool to break through some of these packed defenses getting built up in front of them. I vote for Keita instead of Jordan Henderson or James Milner against Burnley. Definitely instead of Adam Lallana. Why would you even ask me that?