Klopp admits there is a reason Keita not playing after infamous hauling off

Ozan Kabak, Naby Keita, Jurgen Klopp, Fabinho

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted that midfielder Naby Keita has a long-term future at the club, despite his recent lack of action.

The Guinea international has not played since Klopp hauled him off against Real Madrid in early April. The 26-year-old was making a rare appearance – let alone start – but bore the brunt of Liverpool’s poor showing in the Champions League quarter-final first leg. Klopp said after that Keita alone was not to blame, but he has not played since.

Instead, Georginio Wijnaldum, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho have proved mainstays in the team since that game.

Amid his recent lack of action, reports have claimed that Liverpool are willing to take a loss on their once-club-record signing. Indeed, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers supposedly has an interest.

Klopp has now insisted that Keita, who has just over two years left on his contract, remains very much in his thinking. However, he admitted that having “stability” in a turbulent season is key.

“Naby trains really well in the moment, I have to say,” the manager told reporters (via the Daily Mail).

“He trains really well, like a lot of other players, and looks really good in training. But this year now we need stability.

“We will make changes from time to time definitely, but it’s not like we pick now seven, eight, nine players to change and say, ‘Maybe we can win it like this.

Keita hoping to become Klopp's favourite at Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita joked that he would need to topple Sadio Mane and Mo Salah if he wants to become Jurgen Klopp's "favourite" in the squad.

“The long-term future of Naby Keita, from my point of view, is here, yes.”

Keita is one of a number of Liverpool players whose contracts run out in the summer of 2023.

Liverpool stars’ futures up for discussion

Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Sadio Mane, Joel Matip Liverpool June 2019

Star trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino’s futures will soon be up for discussion, as will that of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

In fact, the latter is another player who has struggled for game time like Keita.

Oxlade-Chamberlain returned from injury in December, but has only played 14 games since. What’s more, his 10 Premier League outings have amounted to only 232 minutes.

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