Yesterday, we learned that Naby Keïta was heading back to Liverpool so that the team’s medical staff could thoroughly examine his re-injured thigh. Today, the news is trending in the wrong direction and early reports are that he could be set for a lengthy layoff.
At least that’s how The Mirror’s David Maddock sees it, with the club-connected journalist suggesting it was only the apparent severity of the injury that convinced Guinea’s staff to allow the player to return—temporarily, as they see it—to Liverpool for examination.
And as far as severity goes, the initial report by Liverpool’s physio on the ground to assist Keïta at the Africa Cup of Nations would appear to suggest that Keïta isn’t likely to play again any time soon and that it could be another layoff as long as the first one was.
Or rather, as long as the first layoff was meant to be, as when Keïta first suffered the injury Liverpool’s medical staff said he would be out for two months, a timeline that would have seen him start training again around the start of July and miss the AFCoN group stages.
Instead, Guinea had Keïta in training ahead of the tournament, used him as a substitute in the first match, and started him in the second. He missed the third due to the re-injury. Now, a two-month layoff would keep him out through the start of the club season.
It would also mean the player would miss the entirety of pre-season, a major setback for a player who was expected to take a major step in his second full season at the club. Meanwhile, Guinea continue to say that they expect Keïta back for their next game.