As reported earlier this week, Naby Keita hasn’t had a very inspiring go of it at AFCON. A groin injury suffered in Liverpool’s 3-0 loss to Barcelona in May kept Keita out of action and it’s understandable that he might not be completely, absolutely ready for an international tournament. Keita would have wanted to play for his country this summer but his national team’s rush to get its star midfielder onto the pitch as soon as possible looks like poor planning.
Guinea manager Paul Put has stated that he put “a lot of pressure” on Liverpool to release Keita when Jürgen Klopp had not expected the player to participate in the tournament at all.
Keita was substituted in the second half of Guinea’s match against Nigeria, impaired by a thigh injury he picked up in the game. The extent to which Keita’s thigh is injured is unknown but Keita has officially been ruled out of playing in Guinea’s next match against Burundi. This could mean the end of the line for Keita’s AFCON involvement if Guinea don’t advance out of their group.
That would be a positive outcome for Liverpool as it would mean an extended recovery break for the player. Keita is also said to be dealing with a shin injury on top of the new thigh thing and maybe a little leftover groin feelings as well. Give this man a rest.
Keita needs to be important to Liverpool’s midfield next season. We’ve seen flashes of excellent performances from him but it was just a big, ol’ transitional season for Keita in England. A fresh restart this August after a solid preseason and full injury recovery is a must to ensure consistency and that Jürgen Klopp’s midfield takes its prowess up a level.