Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has been ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League match against Arsenal and could miss further games because of a muscle problem.
Keita limped out of training for the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea last week with that muscle problem, as tweeted by The Mirror’s David Maddock, and was sidelined for the Reds’ weekend win at Southampton, as reported by the official Liverpool FC website ahead of the game.
Injury has been a recurring theme of Keita’s time at Liverpool since he came to the club last summer.
A muscular problem in autumn ruled him out for four games and he was then missing for a period during March before a groin injury ended his season prematurely. [via TransferMarkt.co.uk]
In all, Keita missed nine Liverpool games through injury in 2018/19 and those problems continued into the summer, with the 24-year-old flying home from the Africa Cup of Nations in the middle of the tournament to be assessed by doctors on Merseyside.
His only involvement so far this season has been a 23-minute substitute appearance in the Community Shield against Manchester City at the start of August.
The midfielder played 33 times for the Reds last season but scored only three goals, all of them coming in a three-week spell in April, while he was limited to just 16 Premier League starts as he struggled to hold down a regular starting berth in Liverpool’s midfield.
The latter has played only 11 minutes so far this season, but the former has started three of Liverpool’s four matches and drew praise for his performance at Southampton on Saturday, with Joanna Durkan of This Is Anfield commending Oxlade-Chamberlain’s tireless work off the ball.
Considering that Keita cost Liverpool £52.75m from RB Leipzig, as reported by Sky Sports, his goal return of three in 34 appearances (one every 11.33 games) for the Reds has been poor.
Also, Lallana and Daniel Sturridge can testify that a succession of injury problems can see a once key player become part of the periphery at Anfield.
The former went from making 27 Premier League starts in 2016/17 to just six league starts in the last two seasons, while the latter went from scoring 21 goals in 29 league games in 2013/14 to managing just 19 in five league seasons since then and only nine league starts in the past two seasons at Anfield before being released in June.
Keita has already seen his first season at Liverpool dogged by injuries and, with a low goal output from the time that he has been available, he may need to come back strongly if he is to avoid becoming a dispensable, injury-prone part of Klopp’s squad.
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