Keita was forced off during the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Anfield; Klopp could have central midfield reinforcements for Wednesday’s match against Atletico Madrid, with Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara “in contention” to feature
Tuesday 2 November 2021 14:37, UK
Naby Keita will be “out for a while” with the hamstring injury the Liverpool midfielder picked up in Saturday’s draw with Brighton, Jurgen Klopp says.
In the immediate aftermath of the 2-2 draw Klopp said he expected Keita to miss Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid, but the Liverpool boss now appears resigned to being without the in-form midfielder for Sunday’s Premier League trip to West Ham, which is live on Sky Sports.
However, news of Keita’s absence has been tempered by the return to full training of Fabinho, who has been out since early October with a knee issue, and Thiago Alcantara, who has been out since mid-September with a calf injury.
“Naby has a hamstring injury so will be out for a while,” Klopp said.
“Fabinho and Thiago trained completely normal and are in contention, which is good – very helpful.
“Injuries in this period of the season are normal – as long as they are not too harsh we have to accept that.”
Keita had been displaying some of his best form since joining the club in 2018, playing a starring role with a goal and an assist in last month’s 5-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
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Klopp admitted that replacing the Guinea international with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after just 19 minutes against Brighton was unsettling for his side.
“It had an impact,” Klopp added. “The right side worked really well together with Naby, Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and Mohamed (Salah).”
“Oxlade came on, and obviously has a completely different skillset.
“It’s not about Oxlade, just how you do things usually and then you have to change them and these kind of things.”
An international break follows Sunday’s trip to the London Stadium, meaning Liverpool’s next game isn’t until November 20, when they host Arsenal in the Premier League.
Klopp should not expect a post-match handshake from Diego Simeone at Anfield on Wednesday as the Atletico Madrid boss believes they are ‘false’.
After his side’s 3-2 win over Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano a fortnight ago, the Reds boss could only watch on as his opposite number darted down the tunnel at the final whistle without any acknowledgement.
Klopp was initially annoyed but later played down any long-lasting tension – but Simeone has said post-match pleasantries are just not something he wants to be involved in.
“I don’t like the greeting after the match because they are the emotions of two sides in different emotional minds,” he said.
“I know in the UK it is a custom but I don’t share it and I don’t like the falseness it may include.
“I don’t know Klopp as a person very well but I know he is a great coach who has done great work at every club he has been at.”
Told of Simeone’s latest comments during his press conference later on Tuesday, Klopp insisted there would be no trouble this time around.
“I respect a lot what he is doing. If I would have known he doesn’t do it (shaking hands) I wouldn’t have tried it,” said the Liverpool manager.
“We are both emotional and that was my emotion then, it wasn’t necessary.
“Now I know he doesn’t want to do it after the game so it’s not a problem. We shook hands before the game and we will do tomorrow.”
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