Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp makes 80 per cent claim as Liverpool boss drops Naby Keita new contract hint

Naby Keita, Liverpool midfielder during Champions League game against AC Milan at the San Siro

Naby Keita may be offered a new Liverpool deal after all, with Jurgen Klopp dropping a hint on his future and having given the midfielder a glowing reference.

The Reds have a transfer success rate that is the envy of most clubs in England. Aided by Michael Edwards, Klopp has been provided with a series of signings that on the whole, have been huge successes.

However, the odd disappointment is inevitable, and even the most ardent of Liverpool fans would have expected more from £52.75m man Naby Keita.

Liverpool paid a premium to land the Guinea midfielder one year early in August 2017. But since moving to Anfield the following summer, Keita has consistently struggled to make his mark.

As such, reports have stated Klopp has seen enough of the star and is ready to sanction his sale this summer.

Alongside Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Keita’s deal also expires in summer 2023.

Bayern Munich are reportedly keen on the Guinean.

However, despite his mixed spell at the club, Keita will on Saturday make his 100th appearance for the Reds.

They face Brighton in a lunchtime kick-off looking to close the gap on leaders Manchester City to three points.

Naby Keita new deal hint

And when asked if Liverpool may open talks with Keita over a new deal, Klopp seems confident a deal will be struck.

“Naby’s future will be great, I know that because of the player he is. Until then it makes no sense (to talk about his contract),” Klopp said.

“I heard if Naby plays it will be game 100. It is an impressive number. But it could have been more because he is sometimes injured.”

That said, Klopp clearly values the midfielder and claims 80 of his near 100 appearances so far have caught his eye.

Naby Keita to leave Liverpool as Klopp wants him gone

Naby Keita to leave Liverpool as Klopp wants him gone

Naby Keita hasn’t lived up to his price tag and Liverpool want him gone with Barcelona and Bayern favourites to sign him this summer

“When he looks back at how he played he is an exceptional footballer,” Klopp said. “That is why we brought him in the first place. Of those 100 games, I think 80 were really good.”

Sixty-seven of those appearances have been in the Premier League. And with six goals and five assists to his name, there remains a feeling that he has not quite fulfilled his potential.

However, Klopp’s hint over a new deal suggests he will go against the opinion of the likes of Stan Collymore.

Klopp talks Liverpool title chances

Liverpool go into Sunday’s game at the Amex six points adrift of Pep Guardiola’s side. With a game in hand, however, and with a showdown at the Etihad still to come, Klopp knows the importance of keeping pace at the top.

Indeed, Liverpool are 20 points better off than they were at the same stage last season.

And the German hopes the title race goes down to the wire.

Klopp added: “From our point of view I hope so but I don’t know because… We spoke about that here now plenty of times and it is always the same.

“Everybody is excited about having the opportunity to have a title race – our problem is we have to play Brighton now, then the game in hand we have a few days later is against Arsenal away.

“In all the thoughts of a lot of people it’s like, ‘OK, three points, three points…’ but there is 180 minutes, at least, of football in between – now only 90 and then another 90.

“So, it’s really tough but so far the boys did incredibly well and why should I think we cannot go on?

“It’s hard work, yes, but the boys are ready to work hard and then you have to play your best football and if you cannot play your best football, you have to force luck a little bit, that’s how it is.

“We will try everything but from our point of view we cannot call it a title race because we are still behind and all these kind of things, but we try to win football games and let’s see.”

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