Naby Keita refuses to play for Werder Bremen with ex-Liverpool man to face 'consequences'

Former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, playing for Werder Bremen
Former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, playing for Werder Bremen -Credit:Max Ellerbrake - firo sportphoto/Getty Images

Former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita refused to play for Werder Bremen against Bayer Leverkusen in the match that saw Xabi Alonso's men secure a famous Bundesliga title win on Sunday.

The 29-year-old spent five years at Anfield, winning a handful of major honours, including the Premier League and Champions League. Keita signed for Werder Bremen after reaching the end of his Liverpool contract last summer and returning to Germany, where his performances for RB Leipzig had convinced the Reds to pay £52.75m in 2018.

Injuries were a consistent theme of Keita’s time at Liverpool and he has struggled for opportunities with Werder Bremen this term. A mix of fitness problems and being away on Africa Cup of Nations duty have limited Keita to just one league start and five overall appearances for the club.

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This weekend, Werder were tasked with denying Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen their first-ever Bundesliga title on Sunday. However, the club’s managing director Clemens Fritz revealed pre-match that Keita had opted not to travel with the matchday squad after learning he would not be named in the starting XI.

The German club shared Fritz’s comments on X, formerly known as Twitter: "After Naby found out yesterday that he would not be playing from the start, he decided not to get on the bus but to go home. We will talk to him and his agent tomorrow about the consequences and how to proceed."

Keita signed a three-year deal with Werder but Fritz’s comments will pose questions over his future at the club ahead of the summer transfer window. The Guinea international made 129 appearances for Liverpool but was one of five senior central midfielders to leave the club at the end of last season as part of a squad overhaul.