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LEIPZIG, GERMANY - Thursday, July 21, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita during a pre-season friendly match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita’s international call-up adds to strange situation around midfielder

Liverpool’s Naby Keita has been included in Guinea’s squad for their upcoming friendlies against Algeria and Ivory Coast, despite Jurgen Klopp‘s insistence that the midfielder is injured.

The 27-year-old has entered the final year of his Liverpool contract, with reports towards the end of the summer transfer window suggesting he was “unhappy” at the club, with no contract resolution in sight.

Keita, whose time at Anfield has been plagued by injuries, is said to have picked up another issue the day before Liverpool’s defeat to Man United last month.

He’s not been seen since, with Klopp reluctant to go into detail about the nature of the problem, merely describing it as “a muscle injury.”

The Reds’ squad for their Champions League group stage campaign did not include Keita, which would suggest he will be unavailable until November at the earliest.

SINGAPORE - Friday, July 15, 2022: Liverpool's Naby Keita waves to supporters after the Standard Chartered Singapore Trophy pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at the Singapore National Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, it’s now emerged that the Guinea captain has been named in the latest squad for their two friendlies towards the end of September.

Guinea head coach Kaba Diawara goes along with Liverpool’s line that the player is injured, but claims Keita is “ahead of schedule” and could be ready to feature against Algeria and Ivory Coast.

Naby Keita is injured and he is recovering from his injury,” Diawara explained after naming Keita in his 24-man squad.

“His situation is improving and he is even ahead of schedule.

“We took a group of 24 players precisely to give him a chance to be able to count on him because he is a very important player for us, on and off the pitch, he is our captain.

“We are monitoring his situation very closely.

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

“We still have a little over two weeks before our first game. The chances are to get him back by then.”

Those words certainly don’t align with Klopp’s most recent comments on Keita’s fitness, where he claimed the midfielder would still be sidelined for “a while,” along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is recovering from a serious hamstring injury.

The contrast in the two lines between club and country would suggest there could be something else going on behind the scenes, especially given those reports that Keita was unhappy about his contract situation.

Is this the beginning of the end for Keita’s Liverpool career? It’ll be interesting to see how this one develops!

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