Naby Keita will be out of contract in 18 months and unless Liverpool want to let him leave for free in 2023, they will need to sell him at the end of the season.
This is not how the Guinean’s career was supposed to pan out at Anfield. It hasn’t come to an end yet but the next six months are monumental in the way his time on Merseyside will be remembered.
Injuries have shaped the narrative around his disappointing transfer to the Premier League but there is no denying he is a very talented player who is perfect for Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.
His 45-minute cameo in the EFL Cup against Leicester City summed up just how influential he can be as Keita helped inspire a comeback from 3-1 down to 3-3 before Liverpool won on penalties.
The Foxes couldn’t deal with his pinpoint passing, his dribbling and his counter-pressing not to mention the way he was able to continuously drive the ball forward, turning the screw so the Reds could keep the pressure on.
It paid off and Liverpool made it to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup but we’re still no closer to figuring out what the future holds out for Keita, who is on £130,000 per week.
On one hand, FSG will be very tempted to try and sell him for £30-35million but if there is a club in Europe willing to pay that given his injury issues with just a year left on his contract, I’d be very surprised.
On the other, there is the feeling that if the midfielder can stay fit and avoid the injuries that have held him back, he can become a world-class player but can Liverpool afford to wait any longer?
It would be irresponsible to go into the final year of his contract hoping he comes right because if he doesn’t, Liverpool lose out on tens of millions of pounds, they lose a midfielder and they don’t reap the rewards of trying to get the most out of the player.
His luck with injury has been a bit better this season but he’s heading off for AFCON after the Chelsea match and who knows what toll the tournament will take on his body.
Hopefully, he can return in one piece and put a strong run of form together to prove that he deserves to stay at Liverpool and continue wearing the famous no.8.