Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has told reporters that he is content with Naby Keita going away on international duty with Guinea despite the fact that he has only just returned from injury.
International week is rarely warmly welcomed by managers due to the fact that it brings a risk of injury and also interferes with a team’s momentum in the domestic season.
Liverpool head into the break in positive fashion as they sit two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City following Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Fulham.
Keita only made a very brief cameo in the triumph at Anfield as he replaced Fabinho late on.
The midfielder has been on the sidelines with a hamstring injury since mid-October and only returned to action last weekend.
Despite this, Keita has been called up to the Guinea squad, and rather than be frustrated, Klopp is happy for the 23-year-old to go.
Following the Reds’ win over Fulham, the German coach told reporters:
“If you ask me, I always want them to stay here but in this case, it is good for him. Guinea play one game against Ivory Coast I think and that will be tough for him, but good for him. He is fit, he is now four or five days in training and so now he will have another four or five days in training and then play a game. That’s brilliant for him. In this case I am happy.”
The former RB Leipzig star has missed five of the Reds’ last six matches in all competitions.
Judging from the tinkering that Klopp has done to the middle of the park this season, it is unclear if Keita will be in the starting lineup against Watford on November 24.
His comments regarding the midfielder’s call-up to the Guinea squad can be taken in different ways.
Klopp is either happy with the situation because the match will give Keita an opportunity to build up his fitness ahead of a return to Anfield.
Alternatively, stating that the international break is “brilliant” for the midfielder could mean that he will not be getting many minutes for Liverpool, so should grasp the opportunity of playing for his country.
Keita had a slight dip in form before he suffered the hamstring injury while on international duty.
What is clear is that Klopp has not quite decided on his best midfield, which makes life uncertain for Keita at the moment.