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.
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.
“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.
“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!