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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Mark Wakefield

Liverpool may have to change transfer policy as Naby Keita contract stance emerges

Here are your Liverpool morning headlines for Tuesday, February 7.

Liverpool may now have to go back to original transfer policy

Darwin Nunez didn't expect it, Cody Gakpo wasn't entirely surprised and Ibrahima Konate quickly realised it was completely different, writes Ian Doyle.

Plying your trade in the Premier League is not always the easiest for those who haven't experienced it before. And the travails outlined by the aforementioned trio highlight a transfer issue that has become apparent at Liverpool in recent times.

Since winning the Champions League in 2019, only three of Liverpool's 21 signings had previous experience of playing in the top flight in England, two of whom - Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho - had managed mere minutes while with Fulham. Diogo Jota is the only player to have arrived with extensive knowledge of the Premier League.

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This, of course, is nothing new in comparison to the Reds' rivals, who regularly bring in players from abroad. Quality, which often costs, makes a big difference - after all, a great player is usually great in every league.

But where it differs is to how Liverpool initially bolstered their squad under Jurgen Klopp. Sadio Mane, Gini Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk all became integral team members having already accrued hundreds of Premier League appearances between them.

Even most of the exceptions during that period have gone some way to underlining the point. As a goalkeeper, Alisson Becker is largely protected from the greater intensity, even if it took him a little while to grow accustomed to the increased lack of protection from officials. Fabinho didn't get off the bench until the ninth Premier League game of his debut season, such was his obvious acclimatisation period. And, almost five years on, the jury remains out on whether Naby Keita has ever truly adapted.


Naby Keita 'on the verge' of leaving Liverpool

Naby Keita is reportedly close to leaving Liverpool as a free agent.

The Reds midfielder is currently set to be out of contract at the end of the season. Rumours surrounding whether Keita would sign an extension have swirled for months, but as things stand no deal has been agreed.

The 27-year-old signed for Liverpool from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2017 before officially joining the club a year later. The Reds paid £52.75m for Keita - a club-record fee at the time - but a report now claims they are set to lose the player for nothing.

According to Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg, Keita is ‘on the verge’ of leaving Liverpool in the summer. It has been claimed that a new contract being agreed to keep him at Anfield beyond the current season remains unlikely.



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