By Noel Whelan

2nd Dec, 2022 | 3:54pm

Liverpool have already identified Naby Keita replacement after source's update - pundit

Liverpool have already lined up a replacement for soon-to-be-out-of-contract midfielder Naby Keita.

That’s according to former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the midfielder’s future.

Football Insider revealed on 25 November that Liverpool have pulled the plug on new contract talks with Keita and he is now free to join a new club.

An Anfield source has since updated to Football Insider that the 27-year-old is likely to go at the end of the season and will only go in January if a replacement signing is secured.

The midfielder is set to be out of contract next summer and will be able to speak to foreign sides over a pre-contract agreement in January.

Whelan claims Liverpool have already identified a replacement.

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“It’s a significant loss for Liverpool financially but it’s probably a huge gain in the long term,” Whelan told Football Insider’s Ben Wild.

“When you consider his role, how much game time he has had, the number of consistent games he has had and his injuries, it is probably safer to let him go than give him a big contract when you know you aren’t going to get anything from it.

“Every time you make a signing there is a risk. Is he going to succeed at the club? Will he stay fit? I think on this occasion you just have to look at his record.

“He hasn’t played enough and he’s always injured. It’s a risk to keep him around and a risk Liverpool aren’t willing to take right now.

“It is safer to let him go instead of giving him that big contract. It might sound harsh but that’s life and it’s a business decision.

“He is brilliant on his day but he is never fit enough to show his best. Liverpool can now put that money into singing someone with a bit of longevity.

“I’m sure they have somebody in mind.”

In other news, pundit suggests new Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain move after Southampton reveal.