Liverpool news: Guinea coach reveals how he forced Reds to release Naby Keita ahead of African Cup of Nations

The midfielder has recovered in time to play in the tournament in Egypt

Jack Rathborn@JackRathborn
Tuesday 11 June 2019 14:06
Klopp speaks of his 'relief' after Liverpool's Champions League win

Guinea manager Paul Put has revealed how he was forced to put pressure on Liverpool to release Naby Keita for international duty.

The midfielder has not played for the Reds since picking up a groin injury on May 1 against Barcelona in the Champions League.

The injury meant the 24-year-old missed the Champions League final victory over Spurs.

But Put has revealed he insisted on Keita’s release for the friendly vs Egypt in order to be ready for the African Cup of Nations.

“Keita leaves [Liverpool] after training in the morning and arrives Monday [evening],” he told told Foot224.

“I put a lot of pressure on Liverpool to [send him] as soon as possible.

“In the end, I said that if Naby does not come now, it will be difficult to put [him on] the list for Africa Cup of Nations. He said he will play against Egypt.”

Jurgen Klopp had previously revealed his belief that Keita would be ready for the start of the tournament, with Guinea’s opener against Madagascar on June 22.

“Naby is, I would say, a bit ahead of schedule, but that doesn’t mean anything for the final,” Klopp said.

“He is now doing straight runs and all of that stuff, he feels comfortable with 50 per cent intensity and these things – but there is still a way to go.

“I know about the issues with Guinea and stuff like that; we don’t want to keep a player out if he can play – maybe they think it is like this, but it is not like this.

“For me, it would be good if Naby would be 100 per cent fit and could play the Africa Cup of Nations, to be honest.

Sadio Mane and Naby Keita with the trophy

“But we don’t know, we will see, and we need to work together with their medical department because in the end, a player who is fit – from my point of view – who can play, should play for his country.

“If he is not 100 per cent fit, he cannot play. That’s how it is. It looks good, very positive and we will see if there is a chance.”

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