Saturday, December 4, 2021

Klopp all but rules Keita out of Atletico clash

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 31 Oct 2021

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Jurgen Klopp does not expect Naby Keita to be involved in Liverpool’s Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday after sustaining a hamstring injury.

The Guinea midfielder had to be withdrawn just 19 minutes into Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, for which he had been a doubt after being clattered by Paul Pogba in last weekend’s 5-0 hammering of Manchester United.

Klopp could not offer much information about Keita’s condition immediately after the match, simply confirming it was a hamstring injury and that he “can’t say more”.

But at the very least, it appears Klopp will be preparing to face Atletico at Anfield without Keita as the Reds look to seal top spot in Champions League Group B with two matches to spare.

Klopp told Liverpool’s official website: “He told me, he showed me [the] hamstring. So, I don’t know, we will see; obviously [Sunday] or the day after he will have a scan and then we will know [the extent of the injury].

“But if somebody feels the hamstring, it would be the first time that he is ready for the next game. So, I can’t see that.”

A lengthy spell on the sidelines would not only be a blow for the Reds, who are already struggling for numbers in midfield, but also for Keita himself amid arguably his best run of form in a Liverpool shirt.

Injuries have been a regular frustration for the central midfielder, whose 16 Premier League starts in his first season (2018-19) remains the most he has managed in a single campaign since joining from RB Leipzig.

In 2020-21, Keita played just 10 league games as five different injury problems restricted his impact severely, but he is already up to seven appearances this term.

His off-the-ball tenacity has been a real asset to Liverpool as well, with Keita’s 4.0 tackle attempts per 90 minutes second only to Alexis Mac Allister (4.9) among those to have played at least 180 minutes in the Premier League this season.

He is also averaging 2.5 successful tackles each game, with only Mac Allister (3.7) and Todd Cantwell (3.2) winning the ball back with greater regularity.

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