Liverpool make Keita transfer stance clear as Klopp plans to keep midfielder amid RB Leipzig interest

Naby Keita Liverpool pre-season 2022-23Getty Images

Liverpool have no intention of letting Naby Keita leave before the transfer window closes, GOAL understands, and are continuing talks with the midfielder over a new contract.

The Guinea international has entered the final 12 months of his current deal at Anfield, and as yet negotiations over an extension have yet to bring about a resolution.

Reports in Germany have suggested the 27-year-old is unhappy with the situation, but GOAL understands that despite interest from a number of European clubs, including RB Leipzig, Liverpool’s plan is to keep Keita, both this season and beyond.

What’s the situation surrounding Keita’s contract?

Keita joined the Reds from Leipzig in a £52 million ($63m) deal in 2018, and has since made 117 appearances, scoring 11 goals.

But he is yet to consistently hold down a regular starting spot, with injuries often hindering his ability to build up a rhythm. And while others - notably Mohamed Salah, Joe Gomez and Harvey Elliott - have been handed new contracts this summer, Keita’s future remains unresolved.

GOAL, though, understands that talks between Liverpool and the player’s representative, Bjorn Bezemer, are ongoing. There were face-to-face discussions earlier this month in Mallorca, and the relationship between the parties is strong.

If Keita is unhappy or disillusioned, then that has not been communicated to the club, and there is little chance that they would sanction a sale at this stage anyway, given the injury crisis which has overshadowed their start to the new Premier League season.

The intention, rather, is to thrash out a new four-year deal with Keita, who retains the full backing of manager Jurgen Klopp and who is viewed, fully fit and at his best, as part of Liverpool’s strongest XI.

Anything else happening at Liverpool?

Liverpool expect to have Roberto Firmino available for next Monday’s Premier League trip to Manchester United, after the Brazilian missed the draw with Crystal Palace due to a muscle issue.

Firmino’s absence has been described as “precautionary”, but he is expected to return at Old Trafford, a welcome boost given the Reds will be missing new signing Darwin Nunez through suspension.

Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson should also come into contention to start, having been used only as substitutes against Palace due to minor concerns, but Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all definitely out.

Liverpool will wait until late in the window to make a decision on the futures of Nat Phillips and Sepp van den Berg, with one or both likely to stay as cover until January at least.

Van den Berg has interest from at least three clubs, including Championship side Blackburn, while Phillips has been tracked by Bournemouth and Fulham, but concerns over the fitness of Matip and Konate mean Klopp is likely to err on the side of caution and keep one of them around.