Naby Keita admits 'difficult time' amid latest setback at new club

Naby Keita has admitted to going through a 'difficult time', following his summer move from Liverpool to Werder Bremen.

After five seasons at Anfield, the 28-year-old midfielder was released on a free transfer upon the expiry of his Reds contract, agreeing a deal to return to the Bundesliga back in June.

However, despite being seen as something of a marquee signing for Werder Bremen, things have not gone to plan so far.

Keita – whose fitness issues were the source of much frustration at Liverpool – suffered an injury in pre-season that forced him to miss the start of the 2023/24 campaign.

Last month it was reported that the Guinea international was being 'wrapped in cotton wool' as his new team tried to prevent further setbacks.

However, Keita has now featured for Werder Bremen – albeit sparingly – playing 81 minutes across three Bundesliga appearances so far.

Speaking to Bild, Keita – whose final Liverpool start came back in February – opened up on his recent struggles.

"I admit, it was a difficult time for me," he said. "I wanted to get started straight away and then this injury happened. I am very grateful that my family and especially my wife supported me a lot. My newborn daughter was also a big help. She is now six months old and a great asset in my life."

Keita, who made just 13 appearances for Liverpool across the whole of an injury-hit 2022/23 season, also admitted that he had a chance to prepare for his change of club, having been aware for some time that he would not be extending his contract on Merseyside.

"It was clear to me that I was leaving Liverpool, and I could prepare myself to do something new," he is quoted as saying.

"Yes, we have different goals here than at the clubs for which I played before. The Champions League is not something we have on our minds with Werder at the moment.

"But I always say, why not. It may be that the day will come at some point when we will be involved higher up."

The midfielder made his first start for his new club in Saturday's 3-2 defeat to Hoffenheim. However, Keita was taken off shortly before the hour mark with another knock.

Speaking after the game Werder's Head of Football Clemens Fritz insisted the latest setback is not 'that serious', but suggested the midfielder will likely not be available for the next two games.

Keita's Werder Bremen sit 14th out of 18th in the Bundesliga going into the international break.

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