Friday 21 June 2019

Naby Keita joins Liverpool's growing injury list after limping out of Africa Cup of Nations qualifier

Liverpool’s Naby Keita is an injury worry for Klopp (Nick Potts/PA)
Liverpool’s Naby Keita is an injury worry for Klopp (Nick Potts/PA)

Chris Bascombe

Naby Keita has added to Liverpool’s injury concerns after limping out of Guinea’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

Keita, holding his thigh, was substituted in the first half of the fixture in Rwanda on Tuesday.

He is the fourth player heading back to Liverpool with a problem following the latest series of internationals.

Senegal striker Sadio Mane sustained a suspected broken thumb in training before the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Sudan.

Early indications are that it is not serious, but it cannot be assessed until Mane returns to Liverpool, which will most likely be on Wednesday morning. A decision will then be taken whether a further procedure is necessary.

Earlier this week, Mohamed Salah was ruled out of Egypt’s fixture with Swaziland with a muscle problem. Virgil van Dijk also cut short his international week, although that was due to a pre-existing injury. He has been playing with two broken ribs since being hurt against Southampton at the end of last month, according to Dutch manager Ronald Koeman.

Holland permitted Van Dijk to return to Liverpool early, missing his country’s midweek fixture with Belgium. And now Koeman has explained why the centre-half will be absent.

“Virgil has been playing with two broken ribs for weeks and has been constantly injecting to play at Liverpool,” he said.

“He insisted on being present against Germany. That’s great, because you want internationals who want to be here at the expense of everything.”

Van Dijk’s rib injury is no secret, although until now no one had elaborated on how serious it is. It is still not expected to prevent him playing against Huddersfield on Saturday.

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