Jurgen Klopp explains where Naby Keita’s ‘long-term’ future lies – Liverpool FC
Posted On May 1, 2021
It has been anything but straightforward for Naby Keita at Liverpool, and an unprecedented injury crisis and his own setbacks have further limited his opportunities.
The No.8 has made just 16 appearances this season for a total of 714 minutes, a total that is lower than Takumi Minamino who joined Southampton on loan in January.
Keita’s own woes have played their part this season, and those before, as has the Reds’ defensive crisis that has limited Jurgen Klopp’s ability to freely mix his roster.
This made the search for rhythm or momentum nearly impossible, with his last appearance ending in a 42nd-minute substitute at Real Madrid – where he has since been an unused substitute in the last five games.
Having struggled to make a lasting impact, debate has raged over whether to cut losses as he is set to enter the final two years of his contract this summer – but Klopp only sees his future at Anfield.
“Naby is training really well, I have to say. Like a lot of other players, he looks really good in training, but this year we need stability, ”Klopp told reporters.
“We’ll make changes every now and then, but it’s not like we can make seven or eight changes and say ‘maybe we can win like that’.
“The long term future of Naby Keita, from my perspective, is here.”
Earlier reports indicated that Keita was ready to fight to claim a regular spot on the squad and that Klopp should push him to do so.
And he is not the only victim of the defensive crisis, with like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Xherdan Shaqiri and Kostas Tsimikas some of these names to have suffered from Klopp’s desire to achieve a resemblance of stability.
“It’s a lot of things this year, it was really difficult and we had to change so often. Then you have to try to look for stability and that’s what we needed, ”explained Klopp of how he needed to balance his team.
“For example, the last line of Man United have played, I think, the last 20 games together every now and then you can make changes anywhere because you have a suitable base.
“We’ve never had that and on top of that, making two, three changes in midfield just doesn’t work in football.
“People say ‘try it’, and I would try it, without a doubt, if you could be pretty sure it would work.
“But you need stability in a football team, other teams are just too good to make eight or nine changes.
“It has hurt and affected a few players this year. Some of them were injured, coming back, took a long time.