Naby Keita’s agent has been left angered by Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave the midfielder on the bench for Liverpool’s draw with Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday
Naby Keita’s agent has slammed Jurgen Klopp’s decision to leave the midfielder out of Liverpool’s draw with Chelsea.
The Guinean was left on the bench for the 1-1 stalemate at Anfield with his agent, Malick Kebe, laying the blame firmly at Klopp’s door.
Keita had started in Liverpool’s opening two games, both of which they won, but didn’t get off the bench on Saturday evening.
Kai Havertz had given an impressive Chelsea side the lead at Anfield before Reece James was sent-off for a deliberate handball.
Mohamed Salah equalised from the spot but the hosts could not find a second-half winner.
Diogo Jota, Thiago and Kostas Tsimikas all came off the bench as Liverpool tried to find the decisive goal, but Keita wasn’t called upon – a decision that angered his agent.
“It’s really hard for me to understand Klopp, you have to be him to put Naby Keita on the bench right now in this form,” he said on Twitter.
“Your super coach is solely responsible for this draw against Chelsea.”
Keita has struggled to justify his hefty price tag since joining Liverpool from RB Leipzig in 2018.
Nevertheless, the 26-year-old’s agent insists his client would thrive were he deployed correctly, in what appeared to be another swipe at the German coach.
“The day that coach Klopp gets Naby Keita to play in his favourite role you will see what he will bring to Liverpool,” he wrote in May. “He is a playmaker, not a scavenger.”
Klopp opted to start Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and teenager Harvey Elliott in midfield.
The youngster played in the win over Burnley last weekend and the 18-year-old continues to take everything in his stride.
“It was good. He looked good last week obviously in the game, was good during the training week,” said the Liverpool boss.
“We wanted to change a little bit. We wanted to have the dynamic of Hendo in the team, wanted to have Robbo, wanted to have Bobby in between the lines. That all worked out pretty well and then on the right side we didn’t want to change on top of that something.
“Harvey was from the first day of pre-season with us, pretty much the only midfielder we played so far [who that applies to] apart from Naby and Ox.
“He looks fit obviously and can just deal with 95 minutes and that’s important for us. It was important today and that is why we started him and that’s why we left him on the pitch.”