Sadio Mane reveals the one Liverpool star he has ‘no doubts about’ amid fans’ concerns | Football | Sport
Saido Mane has backed Naby Keita to prove his worth to Liverpool once the midfielder has put his injury woes behind him.
Keita’s opportunity to cement a regular starting spot in the Reds’ first-team has been hampered by injuries.
The 24-year-old joined Liverpool for £52million in 2018, but has yet to make a competitive appearance this season.
Keita suffered an adductor injury during Liverpool’s semi-final Champions League clash against Barcelona at the beginning of May.
And after missing the closing part of last season, he then aggravated this injury when representing Guinea in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was also without Keita, when the midfielder suffered a hip injury during a training session ahead of their Super Cup clash against Chelsea in Turkey.
The Reds went on to win the game on penalties after it finished 2-2 after 90 minutes, but Klopp confirmed at the time Keita would also be unavailable for the trip to St Mary’s to face Southampton later that week.
Although Keita’s absence from the team hasn’t stopped Liverpool maintaining their 100 per cent record in the Premier League – the only team to do so – Mane has tipped his friend to show his worth to the squad when he finally regains his fitness.
“Since our days at Salzburg, he was always a good man, and a good friend to me,” Mane told Complex.
“He’s such a great player, so I think everyone will see once he gets over his injuries how important he will be for this club.
“I have no doubts about him!”
Liverpool have yet to confirm a date for when they expect Keita to be available, however, the midfielder has been placed on a specially tailored training programme, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The club often uses such a training regime during pre-season but it is hoped the new routine will be able to speed up his chances of returning to full fitness.
At the end of August Klopp revealed the club hoped Keita was only two weeks away from being ready.
Ahead of their 2-1 win over Arsenal, Klopp spoke about Keita’s injury, he said: “Long term does not mean six months, it means a couple of weeks. There is no real news, he’s close, but not close enough.”
Liverpool’s next game is against Newcastle on Saturday and due to the international break it will be three weeks since Klopp’s previous update.
And the German coach is expected to give another update on the player’s condition in his Friday press conference ahead of the game at Anfield.