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Liverpool Midfielder Unlikely To Seal A Move Back To Germany: Why Klopp Should Retain His Services

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent tweet, Forbes’ Manuel Veth revealed that Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita could make a switch back to Red Bull Leipzig, citing the Bild as a source. He tweeted, “Following reports out of England. #LFC‘s Naby Keïta could be on his way out of England. #RBLeipzig could be a potential destination according to Bild.”

However, Bild has now come out and given their justification on why such a deal is unlikely to go through when the transfer window reopens later this summer. The German news outlet has claimed that Keita’s high wage demands will be a huge stumbling block for his old employers. It is also believed that Leipzig are only focussed on recruiting players under 24 so Keita doesn’t fit their transfer model. Furthermore, the Reds will demand a fee of at least €50m for the Guinean midfielder which might be out of Julian Nagelsmann’s price range (via Bild).

Keita’s Mounting Frustrations At Liverpool

Keita has endured a frustrating and injury-ravaged season at Anfield so far but has shown a few glimpses of his brilliance as part of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team. He has been primarily used as a box to box midfielder during this campaign but is equally comfortable when filling in as a holding midfielder if required. The 25-year-old has featured in 18 matches for the Merseyside outfit this term, scoring three goals while providing one assist in all competitions. However, he has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield after earning less than 1000 minutes of playing time so far this season.

Keita’s form in the Premier League has been mediocre at best after he averaged 0.8 shots, 0.9 key passes and 1.2 dribbles per game in league football (stats via whoscored). However, his numbers have gone up in the UEFA Champions League where he averaged 2.3 shots, 1.0 key passes and 2.8 dribbles per 90 minutes in the three European matches he has been a part of this season (stats via whoscored).

What Does The 34-time Guinea International Offer On The Pitch?

Keita has a fluid style of playing football as he often opens up the whole pitch through his tireless running and attacking endeavours. He excels at dribbling with the ball and has the vision to pick out a decisive pass in the final third. What makes the Guinea international such an exceptional talent is his ability to win matches on his own. However, since arriving from Leipzig in the summer of 2018, he has been plagued with injuries which have hampered his overall progress at Merseyside.

Hence, one can argue whether Klopp should look to cut his losses by cashing in on Keita this summer. With the next edition of the African Cup of Nations set to be played at the middle of next season, it is highly likely that the Guinean playmaker will miss several matches for Liverpool due to his international commitments. So Klopp might fancy selling Keita and signing someone who would be available for selection more often in the coming years.

Why Klopp Should Not Allow Keita To Leave This Summer

At the same time, there is an argument to be made over whether the Conakry-born playmaker deserves another season to prove his fitness to Klopp. If he succeeds, then Liverpool will have a gem of a player in their hands as Keita has the potential to become one of the best players in his position someday. Therefore, the Liverpool head coach should retain his services for now before deciding on his long-term future at the end of the next campaign.

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