Liverpool confirm Keita return – but stiff calf denies frustrated star
Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri will miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third-round tie at MK Dons through injury – but midfielder Naby Keita has been slotted in to make a much-welcomed return to action.
While Shaqiri – who has spoken of his frustration at a lack of game-time at Liverpool this season – has been ruled out by a calf problem, Keita, who has been sidelined by a groin issue, is in contention to make what would be his first appearance since the Community Shield on August 4.
Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders said on Tuesday: “Shaq trained yesterday really well but at the end of the session he felt his calf stiffen up.
“So in the evening he went for a scan and he has a small tear, so he will not be involved tomorrow. He needs a few days’ rest and then we will see how that looks.”
When asked if there was a chance Keita might play on Wednesday, Lijnders said: “Yes (but) I will not give the team! He is in a really good way. He is an important player and hopefully we can use him in the next weeks but tomorrow will be a day where he will shine.”
Lijnders backs complete striker Brewster
Liverpool’s starting line-up is expected to feature a considerable number of changes from Sunday’s 2-1 Premier League win at Chelsea and there could be debuts for some youngsters.
That includes Rhian Brewster, an unused substitute at Stamford Bridge who Lijnders has described as “a complete striker”.
Lijnders said of the 19-year-old: “That he is already on the bench away at Chelsea, for me, is massive. It makes us all proud. If he does start or doesn’t start (on Wednesday), he is a player who is every time more ready.
“He had a long injury, it was not that easy for him. But he has goals in him, he has technique, good physically.
“He is a complete striker, a typical nine who can come first post, score with his head, turn in the box, play one on one, can score a scruffy goal, unbelievable shot. And a good boy. But let’s see.”
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has also been tipped to be handed his senior debut in the tie – but Sadio Mane appears certain to miss out after Jurgen Klopp provided this update on the attacker’s fitness.
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