Premier League • England

Liverpool urged to avoid ‘criminal’ decision over future of midfielder Klopp cannot rely on

Naby Keita, Andy Robertson, Luis Diaz Newcastle v Liverpool April 2022

Liverpool have been warned that keeping Naby Keita would be a mistake and they need to let the midfielder go “to a less robust league”.

Keita is into the final year of his contract at Anfield, where he has played since 2018. Now aged 27, he should be in the prime of his career. However, injuries have kept cropping up throughout his Liverpool career.

As such, the Guinea international still only has 76 Premier League appearances to his name. He has not made any this season.

There is a player in there somewhere, otherwise Liverpool would not have spent more than £50million to take him from RB Leipzig in the first place.

Jurgen Klopp has still sought to make use of Keita when available. Therefore, Fabrizio Romano recently revealed Liverpool would not be putting him up for sale in January.

Instead, it looks as if Keita could run his contract down and leave on a free transfer in the summer. Alternatively, Liverpool could yet extend his contract in an effort to avoid the major financial loss.

However, they have now been warned by a pundit that giving Keita a new deal would be a “criminal” decision.

According to Football Insider‘s Noel Whelan, it is in everyone’s best interests for Keita and Liverpool to go their separate ways.

Naby Keita out of time at Liverpool

Whelan told the online outlet: “I don’t think he’ll be getting a contract when you’ve barely managed to play for a club since signing.

“It would be criminal for Liverpool to give him a new contract. And I think this probably ends his chance of staying and making a career in the Premier League.

“I think you’ve got to look at the reliability of a player, and you can’t rely on him to give you 38 games a season.

“It’s best for both parties for him to run that contract down, he can go to a less robust league and Liverpool and other interested clubs can look to a healthier player.”

Whelan’s advice for Keita to get out of the Premier League altogether is interesting. After all, Liverpool’s number eight has been linked with a number of other English sides.

If he is to leave Liverpool, it could be to someone like Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Newcastle United or West Ham, if a range of recent reports are to be believed.

That might not necessarily be Liverpool’s concern – or something they can control if he does become a free agent. Their primary focus instead should be on how they can replace Keita.

Indeed, midfield will be one of the main areas Liverpool look to strengthen in 2023. In addition to Keita, they could lose James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo.

In turn, they will need to find more reliable replacements, who can also serve to succeed the likes of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara.

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