Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Naby Keita is fit to face Cardiff City as Liverpool return to action in the FA Cup as they host the Bluebirds.
The Guinean was seriously unlucky to be eliminated from AFCON while watching on from the bench as he was suspended due to accumulating too many yellow cards as he was his nation’s best player at the tournament.
It was, however, amazing to watch him play with so much freedom and leadership as he carried the burden and responsibility of being Guinea’s best chance of progressing to the latter stages of the tournament.
Fans are desperate to see Keita play with the same freedom but injuries have made that difficult since he joined the club for £52million (€61m).
Liverpool fans genuinely agree that Keita is a very talented player with genuinely awful luck when it comes to injury but if he can remain fit, he can be a crucial player for Jurgen Klopp as the Reds push on towards a Carabao Cup final at the end of February.
More immediately, the Merseysiders take on Cardiff City at Anfield in the fourth round of the FA Cup and Klopp has confirmed that Keita is back and ready to go.
“Naby is completely fine. He came back full of energy. Had a few days off. He came back after the tournament full of confidence so that’s all good,” Klopp said of the dynamic ace at his pre-match press conference.
The engine room has been an issue for Liverpool this season with Curtis Jones, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara all missing several games each due to injury and illness but Klopp is set to have a full array of midfielders to choose from now that Thiago is back in training.
Ideally, I would love to see Keita, Thiago and Fabinho play a few games together as they have the ideal blend of control, pressing and ball retention but it seems unlikely that Jordan Henderson will be dropped.
Hopefully, the winter break will give the skipper the energy to perform to a higher level than he has been over the last two months or so as Liverpool cannot afford to drop silly points as they look to hunt Manchester City in the Premier League.
The league leaders dropped points to Southampton right before the break and the Reds capitalised to reduce the gap at the top to just 9 points with a game in hand but if they drop points in avoidable draws, they will had the initiative back to Pep Guardiola’s men.