Naby Keita is “not good enough” to play for Liverpool, according to former midfielder Dietmar Hamman, who was critical of the Guinea international’s performance against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Keita scored Liverpool’s second goal at the Wanda Metropolitano after beating Jan Oblak with a stunning volley from outside of the box but was subsequently taken off at half-time by manager Jurgen Klopp.
Atletico had drawn level thanks to two quickfire strikes from Antoine Griezmann and Keita was beaten too easily in the build up to both goals, first by Thomas Lemar on the byline and then by Joao Felix in midfield.
Keita was replaced by Fabinho at the break and Liverpool went on to win the match 3-2 following Griezmann’s red card. Klopp refused to blame Keita for Atletico’s two goals following the match but Hamman disagreed, before insisting that the 26-year-old did not deserve his place in the team.
“I've got to say, I think Keita was at fault for both goals,” the former Germany international told talkSport. “I know he's had some injuries, but I don't think he's good enough for Liverpool.
“If you score a goal like he did, you should be full of confidence, you have to do your defensive duties and I get the feeling he just wants to play with the ball and when Liverpool have got possession.
“You just can’t do that and he’s not good enough to do that. The way he got beaten for the first two goals was just too easy.”
Keita, who has started just three games in the Premier League this season, returned to Liverpool’s starting line-up following injuries to Curtis Jones and Thiago and Klopp defended his performance in Madrid despite his half-time substitution.
“First and foremost, it was nothing to do with Naby, we just had to defend the right side a bit better,” the Liverpool manager said.
“We were a bit too wide, but Naby scored a goal and stuff like this and I spoke to him already.
“It is really important to me that nobody thinks we played the first half, or the second part of the first half, because of Naby. Not at all.
“He is in really good shape, but he played three games for Guinea there and the last Premier League game 90 minutes and then today.
“As I said, 45 minutes I think was absolutely right. I have spoken to him and it is all good.”
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