Former Leeds striker Noel Whelan believes a Liverpool star who will be out of contract next summer is completely undeserving of a new Anfield deal.
Midfielder Naby Keita’s contract is currently running down and the Reds are said to have pulled the plug on talks over a new one due to his continued absence from the pitch.
The 27-year-old has been plagued by injury issues ever since his big-money arrival from RB Leipzig in 2018.
Indeed, he has made only 117 appearances in just over four years, scoring 11 goals in that time.
Last season was his most fruitful in a Liverpool short, turning out 40 times in all competitions.
However, this time around he has made a single appearance since the Community Shield after suffering a hamstring problem in that game. He has since been on the sidelines with a muscle problem.
And while the Reds have previously held talks with the Guinea international in an attempt to secure an extension to prevent him from leaving for free in the summer, Whelan thinks he should be allowed to move on.
Keita money better spent elsewhere
Indeed, Whelan insisted Liverpool could spend the Keita money better elsewhere.
He said: “To be quite honest I do not think he deserves a new contract.
“I do not think he has put enough into the football club, I do not think he has put enough minutes on the field to be worthy of a new contract.
“He has been plagued with injuries since he came to the club. We have seen him sporadically throughout certain seasons and competitions but he never managed to nail down a definitive role for Liverpool.
“In the back of people’s minds he is a player that they would love to have but the question mark is can they keep him fit. He will be demanding big wages and you do not want to play him for half a season for three years.”
The fact Keita’s contract is running down has prompted Jurgen Klopp to look at potential new signings.
The Reds boss is well aware that his midfield needs to be freshened up and continues to be linked with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and Sofyan Amrabat.
Liverpool are back in action on December 22 when they take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup last 16.