BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 4, 2020: Liverpool’s Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Liverpool FC at Villa Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Aston Villa won 7-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita reportedly tests positive for COVID-19 while on international duty

Naby Keita is one of five players from the Guinea national team to have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports in the Liverpool midfielder’s native country.

Keita was absent as Guinea sealed a 2-1 victory over Cape Verde in their first of two friendlies in Portugal this month, though it was initially claimed he was on the bench.

This remained unconfirmed, however, with no details released regarding the win bar those who started for Didier Six’s side and the goalscorers.

Now, though, it has emerged that Keita and four of his team-mates tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and have been in quarantine since.

Foot224, a reliable source when it comes to Guinean football, claim that Keita underwent tests on Wednesday, with the results returned on Friday, before a secondary test confirmed his case on Sunday.

Keita was joined by Francois Kamano, Ibrahima Kone, Ibrahima Camara and Florentin Pogba in testing positive, and follows Liverpool team-mates Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago, Sadio Mane and Xherdan Shaqiri in having the virus.

Tsimikas has since recovered after testing positive in September, while Thiago is now out of quarantine and Shaqiri’s test ultimately provided a ‘false positive’, allowing him to feature for Switzerland in their 1-0 loss to Spain on Saturday.

Mane is still self-isolating, but has continued training at home ahead of the Merseyside derby on October 17, which both he and Thiago could start in.

Naby Deco Keita of Guinea during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match between Nigeria and Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on the 26 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

If Foot224 are to be believed, though, Keita will not be available, and he will also miss the Champions League opener against Ajax on October 21 and, depending on the extent of his case, possibly more games for the Reds.

It comes at a disappointing time for the No. 8, after starting six consecutive Premier League games for the first time since joining Liverpool in 2018.

More worryingly, though, it further highlights the risk of continuing with international football this month despite an ongoing global pandemic.

Liverpool were not even required to release Keita for Guinea’s clashes with Cape Verde and Gambia as they were friendlies, and the Guinean Football Federation arguably should not have organised them in the first place.

There have been further issues for the Reds within the Scotland and Republic of Ireland national teams, though both Andy Robertson and Caoimhin Kelleher have tested negative.

Harvey Elliott and Billy Koumetio‘s friendlies with the England and France under-19s were called off due to cases.