Naby Keita was cruelly robbed of the chance to appear in a Champions League final when he picked up a groin injury in the semi-final, but no one will feel any sympathy for him if the same happens again after his latest decision.
The former RB Leipzig man was forced off in the first half of the Champions League semi-final first leg tie against Barcelona, with Jurgen Klopp later revealing that Keita would be out for two months and miss the African Cup of Nations as well.
If the Guinean completed his recovery properly, he should be back fully fit on the 1st July having picked up the issue on the 1st May – that would be just a day before the final AFCON group match.
Surely it would be pretty brainless to try and rush back for it, right?
Well, Liverpool’s No.8’s looks like he’s going to do just that.
You can relive Liverpool’s Champions League celebrations in glorious 2D thanks to the guys at 442oons in the video below…
Having arrived in Egypt for the tournament, Keita said: “I am very happy to meet my teammates. I think I’m going to work now, I’m not 100%, but when I was in Liverpool I had already started training with the ball.”
Given the fact that Keita’s first season at Anfield was already disrupted with injuries as well as a bedding-in period, it would be a huge risk for him to sacrifice his availability for the start of next term by playing at the AFCON.
Liverpool’s first-team stars are set to report back for pre-season duties on the 6th July, which would be when the Round of 16 will take place should Guinea get there – if he goes and Guinea do well, which is feasible, he will be very far behind schedule.
Some fans have already expressed their concern at Keita’s involvement for his country, and they are more than entitled to feel that way.
Think Keita being rushed back by the national team is a real concern. #LFC
— Callum Wright (@CallumWright__) June 11, 2019
I hope they will be paying his wages if he aggravates his injury
— LFC (@xMCRx13) June 11, 2019
Given the way in which marquee signings such as Fabinho and Alisson settled last season and went on to have a huge impact, the pressure is on Keita to show why the club spent £52.75m on him.
He will have much less of a chance to do so if he puts his body at risk this summer, and another poor season may see the fans start to get on his back.