Monday 21 January 2019

Liverpool make renewed effort to bring Naby Keita move forward to January

RB Leipzig are unwilling to allow midfielder Naby Keita to join Liverpool earlier than scheduled
RB Leipzig are unwilling to allow midfielder Naby Keita to join Liverpool earlier than scheduled

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool are in talks with RB Leipzig in a renewed effort to make a breakthrough in their bid to bring over Naby Keita during this January window.

The Merseysiders are in constant dialogue with the Bundesliga club to establish what it would take to push the Guinea midfielder’s £57 million move forward. He is due to arrive at Anfield in July, but the sale of Philippe Coutinho has prompted a rethink – Liverpool are now prepared to pay more to get the player early.

Liverpool have not been quoted a fee to make the deal happen, and the public comments from the German side are not encouraging.

Their stance indicates that they do not want Keita to go, although there are suggestions the 22-year-old’s mind is already on his Premier League move. He has not reproduced the form this season that prompted Liverpool to pay what, at the time, was a club record fee.

Liverpool are respectful of ­Leipzig’s position, but will continue with their efforts, although Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl suggested on Thursday that Keita would not be allowed to go until the summer.

“The situation hasn’t changed,” Hasenhuttl told a pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's meeting with second-placed Schalke. “We have always said that there’s no reason to let Keita leave early and that’s the way it will be. Keita will play against Schalke this weekend and hopefully he will play well. That is the only thing I am interested in.”

The final fee Liverpool will pay for Keita is dependent on Leipzig’s final league position.

Should they qualify for the Champions League the midfielder is scheduled to cost Liverpool £67 million, with the price £10 million less should they only make the Europa League.

Meanwhile, Liverpool full-back Alberto Moreno returned to training on Thursday. The Spaniard has been out since sustaining an injury in the first half against Spartak ­Moscow in Liverpool’s final Champions League group-stage fixture last month.

However, it is not clear whether manager Jurgen Klopp will want to risk putting him in the squad for Sunday’s Premier League showdown with leaders Manchester City, who go into the match with an 18-point advantage over the ­Merseyside club.

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