Journalist Dean Jones has slammed Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita’s injury record as the Guinean has missed the entire season so far, leading up to the World Cup.
The Lowdown: Keita’s consistent absences
The 27-year-old has never had an injury-free campaign since his arrival at Anfield in 2018, and has failed to play a single minute of competitive football since a five-minute cameo in the Community Shield in August.
When he has been able to play for a run of games, the technical midfielder has played magnificently at times, but his poor availability has meant that he never truly realised his potential in Merseyside after his £48m move from RB Leipzig.
The Latest: Midfielder hurting Liverpool
With Keita not set to return to the side for a while, Jones has criticised his availability, and accused him of hurting Liverpool’s chances.
“It’s just unbelievably frustrating for everyone involved,” Jones told GIVEMESPORT.
“Naby Keita is such a gifted footballer and this should have been a brilliant transfer, but he’s been unavailable for 30 games over the past year and it has hurt Liverpool. There’s no doubt about that.”
The £120k-per-week midfielder’s contract runs out at the end of the season, and given his injury record, there may be some hesitancy to tie him down to a new deal.
The Verdict: Reliable replacement needed
Keita has managed just 76 appearances in four and a half seasons in a Liverpool shirt, and although he clearly possesses great quality, Klopp can no longer rely on him to appear for a fraction of every campaign.
Liverpool’s long-standing interest in Jude Bellingham has only increased in recent months, and should they land the Borussia Dortmund sensation, they will finally land a central midfielder who they could count on for the long term.
With Thiago Alcantara also suffering injury woes, the Reds have had a frustrating season which has seen last season’s quadruple chasers currently occupy eighth place in the Premier League.