Naby Keïta injury setback deepens Liverpool’s selection problems

Naby Keïta injury setback deepens Liverpool’s selection problems

Liverpool have suffered a fresh injury blow with midfielder Naby Keïta facing a further spell on the sidelines. The Guinea international missed Monday’s Premier League defeat at Manchester United after suffering a setback prior to the game.

Keïta is yet to feature this season having been ill for the league opener at Fulham and an unused substitute against Crystal Palace last week. The 27-year-old’s absence compounds Jürgen Klopp’s selection problems with Curtis Jones, Ibrahima Konaté, Joël Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcântara, Calvin Ramsay and Caoimhin Kelleher all sidelined through injury. Darwin Núñez, Liverpool’s star summer signing, is suspended.

Klopp said: “Naby was injured [on Sunday]. We need further assessment but it doesn’t look like that he is in training [on Tuesday]. Maybe will know more [on Tuesday] but I don’t know. During the week it is not easy because we have 15 senior outfield players, I think, in training. That’s obviously not cool.”

The injury situation at Anfield exacerbates what has been a frustrating start for last season’s runners-up. The Reds are yet to win in the Premier League with the 2-1 loss at Old Trafford leaving Klopp’s side with just two points from three games.

Midfield has been highlighted as a potential weak area but Klopp has repeatedly insisted the club has no plans to seek further additions before the closure of the summer transfer window. On Monday he surprised some by starting with Fabinho on the bench as he opted for a central trio of Harvey Elliott, Jordan Henderson and James Milner.

“We have at the moment five senior midfielders and we have to start with three,” Klopp said. “We could start with two if we would have more attackers, but we have only three attackers, so it means we start with three and then we change during the game. We have to think before the game and that’s the only reason for it, but this is not the story of the game. It’s just the decision for this game.”

Liverpool were beaten by goals early in each half from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford. Mohamed Salah pulled one back late on but the visitors were unable to find an equaliser. Liverpool have conceded first in all their league games this season and defender Andy Robertson said another shaky start at Old Trafford turned the tide in their opponents’ favour.

“We give every team a goal start which is the basis of the game, you can’t keep on giving yourself an uphill battle,” Robertson told Sky Sports. “We’ve conceded an early goal again, we’ve started slow again and that’s what needs to change. We can’t keep going one behind. Probably in the warm-up it was the quietest I have ever heard this stadium – they wanted something to lift them and we unfortunately gave them it and then they obviously got behind their team.”