The president of the Guinea Football Federation, Antonio Souare, has hit out at Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after the German manager claimed Naby Keita would be injured for eight weeks.
Keita ruptured an adductor muscle during the Reds’ 3-0 loss to Barcelona during the week, and the extent of the damage means he could be in danger of missing his country’s African Cup of Nations campaign, which starts next month.
Souare, however, believes Keita could return earlier than expected and is frustrated with Klopp for his apparent pessimistic attitude towards the injury.
In an extraordinary outburst, Souare said: “First we wish very good and fast healing to Naby, as far as I know, the adductors cannot prevent him from playing the African Cup of Nations 2019.
“The adductors [injury] is two to three weeks of unavailability. The Liverpool coach has to pull himself together, let the doctors do their job.
“Naby Keita belongs to a state before belonging to Liverpool. I remind the Liverpool coach a little bit of the rules if he does not know it.
“So it’s hasty and pretentious to make statements like this. What we do know is that Naby Keita will play at the African Cup of Nations 2019.”
Klopp had announced in his Friday press conference that Keita’s season at Anfield was over, saying: “It’s bad news for us and for Guinea as well because the Africa Cup of Nations is coming up.”
The tournament takes place in Egypt and runs until July 19, meaning that even if he misses the start Keita could still play a part of Guinea can progress in the tournament.
They are rank outsiders, however, with odds of 66/1 to win the tournament.
Mo Salah’s Egypt are amongst the favourites with odds of 4/1, while the likes of Nigeria and Senegal are also heavily fancied.