Jurgen Klopp gave Naby Keita his second Liverpool start since before Christmas as Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners but hooked him just 42 minutes later.
The Reds’ chances of progressing to the Champions League semi-finals were decimated at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Tuesday night, with a shocking first half from the away side leaving a lot of work to be done ahead of the second leg at Anfield.
In a way, I feel sorry for Keita. While it was up to him to perform against Madrid, it was the wrong choice from Klopp to hand him his second start for three and a half months after he came back from injury.
His second last start for Liverpool came in their 7-0 rout of Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on the 19th of December and it’s clear that he didn’t have the rhythm required to come into such a big game.
That said, however, questions will now arise over his future at Liverpool. He’s been at the club for three years and with injuries interrupting his playing time, he’s struggled to make an impact.
His nightmare in Madrid comes shortly after a report from Football Insider suggests that Leicester City are interested in signing him, with the club valuing him at £30million.
While we at Anfield Central are yet to learn of any concrete interest from the Foxes, it’s getting to the point where an official bid would likely be considered.
After all that has happened with Keita since his much-anticipated move to Merseyside, it might be time for Liverpool to cut their losses.
We reported in January that while Klopp is frustrated with the former RB Leipzig midfielder, he is willing to persist with him but in the last couple of months, things may well have developed.