Reports suggest that Naby Keita has tested positive for COVID-19. The 25-year old midfielder is currently on international duty with the Guinean national team.
According to accounts from Guinea, four other Guinean players have tested positive as well.
Naby Keita and four other guinean players have been tested positive to coronavirus with Syli National. More to come on @FOOT_224— Amadou Makadji™ (@ThAmadouMakadji) October 11, 2020
Liverpool Football Club or the Guinean national team are yet to make an official announcement.
If the report is confirmed, Keita will be the fifth first-team men’s player at Liverpool to be affected by the novel coronavirus. This also means that he will miss next weekend’s Merseyside derby against Everton, presumably due to mandated self-isolation.
The first Liverpool first-team men’s player to test positive was Greek left-back Kostas Tsimikas, followed by Bayern Munich transfer Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane. The Swiss FA initially reported that Xherdan Shaqiri had tested positive as well, but it later turned out to be a false result, with his final condition unclear.
Tsimikas has returned to playing with the first team, while social media suggests that Thiago and Mane are out of danger.
Concerns continue to escalate about the justification for international football to continue unhindered while the pandemic rages on, given the extensive travel involved, and the coming together of players from multiple locations.
If we go down that road however, the grounds for any team-based contact sport, including club football, to continue at this time are shaky, given the risk posed to players and staff. While the young and fit tend to be spared from the worst effects of the virus to a large extent (though not entirely), the long-term impacts are completely unknown, making even the thought of contracting it and “getting it over with” seem like a lethal and risky gamble.