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Liverpool perform U-turn on Naby Keita contract stance?

Liverpool perform U-turn on Naby Keita contract stance?

Liverpool have reportedly performed a U-turn on their decision to hand midfielder Naby Keita a new contract.

The Guinea international has entered the final year of his deal with Jurgen Klopp‘s side and is on course to leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Should Keita fail to agree fresh terms before January, the 27-year-old will be able to enter pre-contract negotiations with foreign clubs.

Keita has endured an injury-plagued few years on Merseyside since arriving from RB Leipzig in a €60m (£51.6m) deal four years ago, and a hamstring issue has kept him sidelined for most of the 2022-23 campaign.

The former Red Bull Salzburg starlet has only played in the Community Shield for Klopp’s side this term, spending the entire Premier League and Champions League season on the treatment table.

Naby Keita goes down injured for Liverpool against Brighton & Hove Albion in October 2021© Reuters

Despite his persistent struggles to stay fit, reports have claimed that Liverpool intend to agree a new deal with Keita, who is seen as a valuable member of Klopp’s team when fully fit.

However, Football Insider now claims that Anfield chiefs have had a change of heart and are prepared to sever ties with the Guinea man at the end of the campaign.

The report adds that Liverpool have been determined to tie Keita down to a new contract in order to avoid losing him for free, but talks have not yielded a positive solution, and he is expected to depart in 2023.

As a result, the Merseyside club are prepared to cut their losses on the injury-hit lynchpin, who was reluctant to agree to a pay cut in any fresh terms, and Liverpool will entertain suitable bids in January.

Keita is expected to see out his Liverpool contract before leaving at the end of the season, though, bringing his Anfield spell to an end after five years at the club.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates on November 6, 2022© Reuters

Keita has recorded 11 goals and seven assists in 117 appearances for the Reds since making the move to the Premier League, but he has missed a further 75 club games through injury or illness.

The 27-year-old has nevertheless scooped an impressive trophy haul at Anfield, winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, EFL Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup under Klopp.

An exit for Keita would open up a spot for in-demand midfielder Jude Bellingham to join, but the Borussia Dortmund man is thought to have his heart set on a switch to Real Madrid.

Keita has returned to running on the AXA training pitches as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury, with the Reds taking on Manchester City in the EFL Cup on December 22 in their first game back after the World Cup.

Liverpool players not involved in the World Cup will travel to the Middle East for the Dubai Super Cup next month, with Lyon lying in wait on December 11 before a meeting with AC Milan on December 16.

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