LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 20, 2023: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita suffers fresh injury setback at new club – “visibly upset” on exit

Naby Keita is facing yet another spell on the sidelines at new club Werder Bremen, picking up a new injury on his first start for the German club.

Intended to be a new start, Keita’s free transfer to Werder Bremen saw the midfielder take a significant pay cut on his previous earnings at Liverpool.

The Guinean opted for a step down, from challenging at the top end of the Premier League and Champions League to mid-table in the Bundesliga, in order to revive his fortunes.

But the same fitness problems are still plaguing him, with Keita missing the majority of pre-season and the start of the campaign with an adductor injury.

And three games into his comeback, and in his first start for the club, the 28-year-old tore a thigh muscle in Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Hoffenheim.

The issue occurred just two minutes before his planned substitution, with BILD reporting that Keita was “visibly upset” as he left the pitch and “completely withdrawn” after the final whistle.

Speaking upon the diagnosis of Keita’s setback, Werder head of football Clemens Fritz described it as “not a serious injury” but added that “he will definitely miss at least both of our upcoming two matches.”

“It’s obviously very disappointing for Naby,” Fritz added, “as he had only just returned to full fitness.”

The midfielder was steadily building up his minutes after his recovery from the adductor problem picked up in the warmup for Werder’s first pre-season friendly.

After cameos against FC Koln and SC Darmstadt, the trip to Hoffenheim brought his first start at club level since Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace in February, with only two since then for his country.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Tuesday, January 17, 2023: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In his own words, during an interview with BILD conducted before this latest injury, it was hoped to be the end of a “difficult time.”

“I wanted to get started straight away and then this injury happened,” he explained.

Instead, Keita is left on the treatment table again, ruled out of Guinea’s upcoming friendlies against Guinea-Bissau and Gabon and Werder’s clashes with Dortmund and Union Berlin.

His layoff is, therefore, expected to be at least a month, but his unfortunate injury history suggests it could be considerably longer.