Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp reveals if Naby Keita substitution against Real Madrid was due to injury
Keita started for Liverpool in a midfield three which had Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum. His inclusion over Thiago Alcantara baffled many and the team went on to be outplayed in the first half.
A goal from Vinicius Jr. and Marco Asensio put Los Galacticos 2-0 up in the 36th minute. And Klopp reacted to the horrorshow on the pitch by making a substitution in the 41st minute itself.
The Guinean midfielder paved way for Thiago, and given Keita’s injury history at Liverpool, some fans were worried if he had encountered another fitness issue. But the German gaffer clarified that the decision to bring Keita off was tactical.
Not finding his feet
However, he refused to blame the 26-year-old for the first-half performance. But it was evident that the midfield three wasn’t working and Klopp opted to oust Keita instead of the other two.
“Naby was not responsible for the performance in the first half. He was not good in the game, but I could have made a few more changes in that moment. Yes, it was tactical. I did it, and now I’m not happy about it because we talk as if it was Naby’s fault.”
Keita was one of many players who underperformed in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final. He joined the Reds in the summer of 2018 but has only managed to make 47 starts in all competitions since then. (Stats Credits: transfermarkt)
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It seems like the end of the road for Keita when it comes to being a pinned starter in the midfield.
And if Leicester City act on their reported interest (h/t ESPN) to buy the midfielder, then Liverpool could be making a wise decision to offload him.