Liverpool Midfielder Reportedly Tests Positive With COVID-19: Massive Blow For The Reds?

Liverpool's Naby Keita reportedly tests positive for Covid-19 (Keita is in action in the photo)
Liverpool's Guinean midfielder Naby Keita clears the ball from Brighton's French striker Neal Maupay during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Liverpool at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on July 8, 2020. (Photo by CATHERINE IVILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In a recent tweet, Guinean journalist Amadou Makadji has revealed that Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has tested positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with the Guinean national team. If the report is accurate, then the Reds playmaker could be ruled out of the Merseyside derby against Everton in the Premier League this weekend.

Keita’s Importance In The Liverpool Midfield

Keita has been one of the most penetrative midfielders in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield so far this season. Therefore, his potential absence could prove to be a bitter pill to swallow for the Merseyside outfit ahead of their crucial upcoming derby versus the Toffees.

The Guinean international has made six appearances for the Reds this term but is yet to score or assist a goal. However, he has managed to contribute at both ends of the field after he averaged 0.5 tackles, 0.8 interceptions, 0.5 clearances, 1.3 shots and 1.0 dribbles per game in the Premier League this season. He has also been exceptionally accurate with his ball-distribution as evident from his pass completion rate of 92.6% in top-flight football (stats via whoscored).

With Thiago Alcantara, Sadio Mane, Alisson Becker and now, Naby Keita all missing in action at the moment, Klopp will have a selection headache when naming his team for the Merseyside derby on Saturday afternoon. The Reds suffered an unexpected 7-2 defeat against Aston Villa before the international break which has put them three points behind their Merseyside rivals in the league table. Hence, the reigning champions of England cannot afford to lose any points when the two sides face off at Goodison Park this weekend.

Liverpool's Naby Keita reportedly tests positive for Covid-19 (Keita is seen in the photo)
Naby Keita of Liverpool takes the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement prior to the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds United at Anfield on September 12, 2020, in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Paul Ellis – Pool/Getty Images)

What Does The Guinean International Bring To The Table?

Keita is a deceptively quick midfielder who is an excellent dribbler with the ball from midfield. He loves to make some driving runs in the opposition half and is usually quite tidy when interchanging possession at the centre of the park.

The Guinean talent has also proven his worth as a decent creator of goals-scoring opportunities but needs to be more productive in the final third if he wants to live up to the hype surrounding his move to Anfield two years ago.

Keita Could Be Ruled Out Of The Everton Clash: Massive Blow For The Reds?

Missing someone of Keita’s attacking potential will be a big blow for the Merseyside giants ahead of what could be an early season-defining clash at Goodison Park. However, the Reds have got enough depth to cope with his absence.

Klopp will probably name a strong midfield comprised of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum in the derby with Curtis Jones playing as a back-up on the bench. Even though losing Keita will feel like a massive blow, yet it is still far from a crisis as long as Liverpool do not lose any more of their first-team stars during this international break.

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.