Naby Keita

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Naby Keita groin injury to sideline him for two months

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Naby Keita‘s groin problem picked up in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal loss to Barcelona is as bad as feared, and will add the 24-year-old to the growing list of big names set to miss the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with late season injuries.

Keita was forced off in the 24th minute of Wednesday’s match at the Camp Nou, and on Friday Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed his midfielder suffered a torn adductor muscle that will keep him out of action for two months.

“It is a high grade adductor injury where the tendon is ruptured, which keeps him out for at least, I would say two months,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Newcastle on Saturday. “So bad news for us obviously but bad news for Guinea as well, because Africa Cup of Nations is coming up.”

Keita has become a key player for the Guinea national team, a regular in the squad since his introduction in qualifying for the 2015 AFCON tournament. He has missed just six matches since his debut in September of 2014, but will now be forced out of this summer’s tournament which begins on June 22. Guinea has been drawn into Group A with Nigeria, Madagascar, Burundi.

“[Keita’s injury is] not a really good moment, but it happened. Sometimes football and life aren’t too nice, but yeah, very serious,” Klopp said.

He joins a growing list of important players who have picked up late-season injuries that will keep them out of the competition, including Manchester United and Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly and Leicester City’s Ghanan midfielder Daniel Amartey.

Report: Liverpool’s Keita to miss Premier League run-in, UCL 2nd leg

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It’s the time of year when “out for the season” is thrown around a little too dramatically, but Naby Keita‘s absence threatens to hurt Liverpool’s chances of a Premier League title in some jeopardy.

Only some because the Reds got this far in their campaign without a ton from the 24-year-old Guinean, who will miss about a month with a groin injury which caused him to sub out of Liverpool’s Thursday loss to Barcelona after just 24 minutes.

[ MORE: Messi reacts to win ]

The Reds fell 3-0 at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semifinal and will have to make their improbable comeback bid without Keita, who appeared in Liverpool’s first eight Premier League matches but has been his most consistent in the latter stages of the campaign.

He has two Premier League goals, both coming in his last four matches, and only Virgil Van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum have completed more of their passes this season. Keita has seen his numbers dip in several areas since arriving from RB Leipzig, where he was a much important part of the team.

Klopp thrilled with Keita performance, Ox return as Liverpool cruises

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is the right man to have in charge for this particular Premier League challenge.

The Reds won again on Friday to go back atop the league, but will not win the league if they win out and Manchester City does the same.

[ RECAP: Liverpool 5-0 Huddersfield Town ]

When you’re talking a 97-point season that doesn’t end with silverware aloft, you’re talking crazy; Yet that’s what stands before the Reds.

Take it from Andy Robertson, who collected another two assists in the 5-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town.

“We’re onto 91 points and normally that’s enough to win the league,” he said. “I think it’s going to take 97 or 98 and that’s incredible. We’ve fought the whole way, but whoever falls short will be gutted. But it’s something we can be proud of and not sure we could have done any more.”

That feeling is almost a pre-emptive gutting — not exactly possible, we know — but Klopp has done a magnificent job of framing each win for what it is and not in the context of, “But what about Man City?” ad nauseum.

Then again, it isn’t remarkable given the subplots of Friday’s win. Klopp saw Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain make his long-anticipated return from injury, and Naby Keita scored before the 15th second ticked off the clock at Anfield.

Here’s Klopp on “The Ox,” who missed a chance which would’ve sent Anfield into delirium. From Sky Sports:

“It was nearly heartbreaking when he missed the chance, but you saw him smile. He’s such a wonderful person. He’s a better person than player. Imagine that. He’s a really good player and as a guy he’s outstanding. We’re so happy for him.”

And here’s Klopp on Keita, who is finally finding his footing after getting limited chances to shine in his first season since transferring from RB Leipzig.

“He’s a complete midfielder,” Klopp said. “Today it was his best game in all defending situations he was so difficult to deal with. He’s so quick in small spaces, you can’t stop that. And I don’t know how many balls he blocked tonight. People were asking me what about Naby Keita and we always thought we signed him for next year. He needed time to adapt but thank God he has done it this season.”

Liverpool smash Huddersfield Town to retake PL lead (video)

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  • Keita sets Liverpool record (video)
  • Salah, Mane bag braces
  • Salah takes Golden Boot lead

Liverpool eviscerated Huddersfield Town 5-0 at Anfield on Friday to reclaim the Premier League lead from Manchester City.

The win puts Liverpool on 91 points, two points ahead of City, and brings the Reds within four on goal differential. Man City visits Burnley on Sunday.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah both scored twice, the latter moving into the lead when it comes to the Premier League’s Golden Boot.

Naby Keita scored the opener before the match was 15 seconds old, setting a club record for fastest goal from kickoff.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Keita forced a turnover that zipped to Salah, who set up the Guinean for a finish off the far post and into the goal.

Andy Robertson collected his first of two assists when he cued up Mane for a 23rd minute marker.

Salah made it 3-0 before halftime, nabbing his 68th Liverpool goal in his 100th appearance when he lobbed Jonas Lossl off a long pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Jordan Henderson crossed for Mane’s second goal, a clever header and feat of balance.

The fifth goal came when Robertson took a feed from Xherdan Shaqiri before crossing for Salah to side-foot from close range.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

WATCH: Liverpool sets club record with early Keita goal

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Call it Shane Long x2 and with much more import to the Premier League table.

Days after the Southampton striker set a Premier League record by scoring 7.69 after kickoff, Liverpool tried to beat the mark.

WATCH LFC-Huddersfield LIVE

Naby Keita forced a Huddersfield Town turnover 20 yards outside the box, and Mohamed Salah collected the loose ball.

Salah found Keita’s run into the 18, where the former RB Leipzig star plunked a shot off the far post and into the goal for a 1-0 Reds lead after 14 seconds.

Sadio Mane nodded an Andy Robertson cross home before the half-hour mark to make it 2-0 in favor of the hopeful hosts.

A win would give Liverpool the Premier League lead before Manchester City meets Burnley on Saturday.