Should Liverpool extend Naby Keita's contract that expires next season?
Keita is a very divisive figure among Liverpool fans. A lot of supporters appreciate what he can bring to the table, whilst some fans think that he's had more than enough time to prove himself with Liverpool.
Unfortunately, Keita isn't the same player as he was when we signed him for £54m from RB Leipzig in 2018. The talent is clearly still there but we barely get to see it because he is injured so much.
In his first season at the club, he played 25 Premier League games for the Reds, which is still his most games in a single campaign for Liverpool.
However, after that is when we started to see major issues with Keita's injury record. In the title-winning season, he only played 18 games and then the season after, the Guinea international only managed 10 games for Jurgen Klopp's side, completing 90 minutes twice.
This season he has been available a lot more but injuries have still impacted his campaign.
To put his injury record with Liverpool into perspective, the 27-year-old has missed 62 games through injury.
Fabinho, who also joined in the 2018 transfer window has only missed 26 games through injury, with half of them being down to one injury in 2020.
For me personally, that is the main concern when deciding whether to give Naby a new contract or not.
Most of his injuries are knocks that keep him out for a couple of weeks. If he picked up a few long-term injuries then it would be understandable but it's hard not to call him an injury-prone player.
With how Klopp's midfield works, you can't be picking up knocks every other week. It's one of the hardest working midfields in the world and the pressure to be fit is immense.
However, it's getting to a point now where Liverpool need a world-class right-sided midfielder. It's the only position that we don't have nailed down.
Henderson is starting to fall off, Curtis Jones still isn't ready to be the starter we all hoped he would and with controversy surrounding Harvey Elliott everywhere he turns, it's unlikely he'll be made to step up to the plate.
“I've had quite a few injuries so I'm trying to come back gradually to full form and fitness. And it's my aim to try and establish myself and be seen in the world of football and I guess we'll see how that goes, either this season or the next.” #awlive [lfc] pic.twitter.com/0mdwKrKaRv
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) April 5, 2022
The gap is there for Keita to prove to Klopp and the fans that he can stay fit and reproduce the performances that made Liverpool spend £54m for him all those years ago.
Saying all that, I can't see him staying fit for more than 25 games a season. It's harsh but that's what he has proven to us over the years.
I do think there's a place for him. That place isn't him starting week in and week out but it's him being a rotation player to help break the lines of teams who sit back and defend deep.
I still stand by the fact that we need a world-class midfielder in the next transfer window to partner up with Thiago and Fabinho, and with the Reds being linked with the likes of Aurelien Tchouameni and Jude Bellingham, I believe we will complete a deal for someone in that position this summer.
Back to Naby's contract though, if he is willing to stay on his £120k per week, as reported by Spotrac, then I would sign him up to a new deal and hope that he can stay fit.
There is still a part of the player that we signed inside of this Keita and if he can have one season where he stays fit and refinds his best form then I think he'll be a massive asset to Klopp.