SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Friday, April 5, 2019: Liverpool's Naby Keita during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at the St. Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Naby Keita ‘storms out’ of new club – ex-Liverpool midfielder rejects claims

Former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita is under a storm at Werder Bremen, who claim the Guinean refused to travel for a game after learning he would not start.

Keita’s five-year stay at Anfield limped to a fitting close, as his contract expired at the end of a season in which he only played 13 times.

The midfielder suffered a seemingly never-ending series of injuries, illnesses and other discomfort which limited him to only 129 appearances during his entire spell.

There were renewed hopes, though, when he made a swift return to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen, with his free transfer confirmed in June.

But the 29-year-old has now been warned he faces “consequences,” amid claims from the club’s sporting director that he failed to report to the team bus for Sunday’s clash with Bayer Leverkusen.

“After Naby found out yesterday that he would not be playing from the start, he decided not to get on the bus but to go home,” Clemens Fritz said.

“We will talk to him and his agent tomorrow about the consequences and how to proceed.”

Keita, who had already missed 17 games for Werder Bremen due to two injuries, three bouts of illness and representing Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations, has only played five times for the club.

The suggestion that he refused to travel as he was not in the starting lineup is a bizarre one at face value, as his only previous start came in October.

He was an unused substitute in three of the previous five games in the Bundesliga, otherwise coming off the bench in back-to-back losses to Union Berlin and Wolfsburg.

And Keita has since taken to Instagram to refute Fritz’s allegation, insisting: “I won’t accept anybody tarnishing [my] image.”

“Since the first day I signed for this great club, I have always worked selflessly and professionally,” he wrote.

“My only desire has always been to help the club and bring joy to the many fans, especially at a time when the results are not as we would like them to be.

“Since the beginning of my career, wherever I’ve been, I’ve never had problems with discipline and I’ve always tried to be a role model. So I won’t accept anybody tarnishing that image.

“To the fans: I want you to know that I fight every training session to make you happy every weekend. Training, giving everything, these are the limits of my strength. Allez, Werder!”

Throughout his career, Keita has played 364 times for club and country, missing 156 games due to injury and illness per Transfermarkt.