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Liverpool’s Pursuit of Naby Keïta Takes UEFA Blow

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UEFA have ruled that RB Leipzig will be able to participate in the Champions League next season.

3rd Place Match - Audi Quattro Cup 2015 Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images

It was always unlikely that UEFA would choose to bar RB Leipzig from Europe next season due to Red Bull group’s ownership of Austrian Bundesliga champions RB Salzburg, but for some Liverpool fans there was for a time hope that they might and that it would aid Liverpool’s attempts to sign Naby Keïta.

Today, though, UEFA have ruled that despite both clubs being owned by the same group, both will be allowed to participate in Europe next season. Had UEFA ruled otherwise, it would have been German Bundesliga runners-up Leipzig forced out due to Salzburg’s higher seeding as Austrian champions.

In recent weeks, the two clubs had undertaken to restructure, separating and isolating the management structure of each where previously there had been overlap. This satisfied UEFA, who would for their part have wanted to avoid barring Germany’s second best club from Europe next season if at all possible.

While Leipzig being ruled out would have improved Liverpool’s chances of signing Keïta for obvious reasons, journalists with ties to the club believe he remains Jürgen Klopp’s top midfield target—and that Liverpool are quietly confident of signing both him and Southampton centre half Virgil van Dijk.

If both signings do indeed come off, in addition to Mohamed Salah’s capture from Roma, on paper at least it would mark Liverpool’s best—or at least most impressive—transfer window of the Premier League era.