Liverpool will conduct a further fitness check on midfielder Naby Keita ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa before deciding whether he will be able to feature.
In his pre-match press conference, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said that the 24-year-old will be assessed closer to kick-off, following the injury he sustained against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup in midweek.
The club’s official website liverpoolfc.com reported Klopp as saying: “Naby I don’t know yet [if he’s available], we will see.”
After incurring multiple injuries last season, Keita’s fitness fortunes haven’t been any better in the current campaign.
His cause wasn’t helped by an unconvincing performance against the Gunners on Wednesday, with the Liverpool Echo‘s Ian Doyle feeling that he ‘didn’t do enough going forward’, while This Is Anfield‘s Henry Jackson said that ‘the Guinean didn’t cover himself in glory defensively and one shot that flew into the Anfield Road end was his greatest attacking involvement’.
Keita did win two tackles and misplaced only one of his 31 passes on the night (as per WhoScored), but his lack of offensive threat may well count against him given the recent scoring exploits of other Liverpool midfielders.
With league leaders Liverpool likely to be on the front foot for large portions of the game against 15th-placed Aston Villa, Klopp may want to go with midfielders who would provide a scoring threat.
Also, while Keita has shown that he can retain possession effectively – he has recorded a 92.6% passing success rate in the Champions League this season – fellow midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has outshone him in this department with 98.6% accuracy in Europe, as well as 91.5% in the Premier League. [via WhoScored]
Fabinho has also been assured in his ball distribution, with passing success rates of 86.8% domestically and 89.7% in Europe. [via WhoScored]
There are several midfielders in Klopp’s squad who are showing better form than Keita and who carry a greater threat going forward.
Even if the Guinea international is fit enough to feature at Villa Park, right now he isn’t showing enough to merit a place in the starting XI ahead of others in his position.
Liverpool fans, would Keita’s possible absence against Aston Villa be a concern or would he struggle to get into the team anyway even if fully fit? Have your say by commenting below!
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