Naby Keita back to square one at Liverpool after history repeats itself

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Naby Keita will know he’s been before.

Twelve months ago, the midfielder was in the form of his Liverpool career.

Having starred in victories against Bournemouth and Red Bull Salzburg, the £52million man would help the Reds bring back their first-ever Club World Cup from Qatar.

A Boxing Day start at Leicester then saw Keita play a role in arguably Liverpool’s performance of the season before injury would strike at the turn of the year.

After being named on the bench for the visit of Wolves, Keita was poised to replace Adam Lallana in midfield for the first game of 2020 at Anfield.

A problem in the warm against Sheffield United on January 2, however, left him sidelined for most of that month.

An encouraging 90 minutes in the 7-0 hammering of Crystal Palace was a sizable step in the right direction on December 19.

But just when Keita was hoping to build up some sort of momentum, injury, as it so often has, derailed the Guinea international.

Klopp’s latest update on the former RB Leipzig star was vague.

Naby felt again a muscle,” Klopp said in the wake of Sunday’s frustrating 1-1 draw with West Brom.

“We don’t know exactly for how long but he wasn’t ready for today and not for Wednesday [against Newcastle] I don’t think.”

The Reds boss has spent the best part of two-and-a-half years delivering those sorts of updates on the 25-year-old.

While the quality has never been in question for Liverpool’s No.8, his durability very much has been.

How long Klopp is willing to persist with this particular pattern of Keita’s, only he will know.

But the third most expensive footballer in Anfield history has yet to prove he can handle the rigours of Premier League football as he moves into his fourth year at the club.

While Thiago Alcantara’s own struggles have dominated the agenda, Liverpool have also been flattened by an extraordinarily peculiar succession of injuries to others in the team this year.

In one way, it’s been the story of the season for Klopp and his staff, regularly seeing their players struck down.

Keita’s issues, though, have been entirely in-keeping with everything that has gone before for him at Liverpool.

It’s a story that is stuck on the same page, but as Liverpool prepare to move into 2021, Keita too will be looking for fresh start of sorts at Anfield.

Yes, Keita’s been here before, but what happens next is up to him.

TK News


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