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Leipzig’s Keita to face Schalke amid early Liverpool move reports

Naby Keita Liverpool-bound midfielder Naby Keita (source: Bongarts)

Naby Keita will play for RB Leipzig against Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday, despite reports his transfer to Liverpool will be moved forward.

A deal for Keita, believed to be worth £48million, has been set for the end of the season, with Jurgen Klopp previously denying the Anfield club would try to complete the move during the January transfer window.

But reports suggest Liverpool – cash-rich following this week’s club-record sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona – are keen to negotiate with Leipzig over an early switch for the midfielder, which it is claimed could cost an extra £18m.

However, Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuttl told reporters on Thursday that Keita remains a part of his plans for the foreseeable future.

“We’ve always said that there is no reason for us to let him go earlier,” Hasenhuttl said.

“So he will play at the weekend against Schalke. Keita’s job is to play football. I have no doubt that he will not do that on Saturday.

“The last impression you leave is the one that stays the longest. During the last year-and-a-half he’s played many great games for us, maybe the last six months he hasn’t always performed at the highest level.

“I think he’ll try his best to be remembered in the best possible way. I’m convinced he won’t waste that chance.”

Leipzig face a battle for Champions League qualification, sitting fifth in the Bundesliga ahead of the return from a mid-season break.

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