By Ben Dinnery

10th Nov, 2022 | 2:57pm

Insider issues embarrassing '26%' Naby Keita claim after Liverpool 'setback'

Liverpool won’t rely on injury-plagued Naby Keita’s return to the matchday squad for their game against Southampton on 12 November as he “can’t cope” with the demands of the Premier League.

That is the view of medical expert Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in injury and data analysis, speaking exclusively to Football Insider

Speaking in the build-up to Wednesday’s (9 November) League Cup win against Derby and quoted by club media, Pep Ljinders revealed Keita is “still training individually” despite previously stepping up his recovery from a hamstring injury.

The midfielder, who is yet to feature in league action this season, is out of contract next summer and can discuss a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from 1 January.

Dinnery revealed Keita has featured in just “26%” of possible minutes since joining Liverpool in 2018.

He told Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley: “You’re going to have reactions and little niggles when you’re recovering.

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“I think we need to contextualise everything. He made the matchday squad in gameweek two, but he hasn’t played a single minute.

“We’re talking about a player who has only played 26% of the league minutes available since he came to the club, for whatever reason.

“Keita was with the group but was pulled out to work on an individual basis.

“This new setback could have been just a slight reaction. Given his history of problems, taking that step back could just mean they are waiting for those issues to go away. You don’t want to exacerbate anything.

“This is a player who hasn’t been involved at all this season, he probably won’t be needed on the pitch this weekend.

“With this break, will they want to risk him with another five or six weeks of training possible before the season resumes?

“It’s not totally out of the question, but with Keita we’ve now learned that he has struggled for fitness.

“He can’t be relied upon to put a steady stream of games together in quick succession because he can’t cope with the demands of playing at this level.”

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