It has been a week to forget for Liverpool and their manager Jurgen Klopp.
Joe Gomez suffered a knee injury while on international duty with England, joining his centre-back partner Virgil van Dijk on the long road to recovery.
Forward Mohamed Salah tested positive for coronavirus while away with the Egypt national side.
It is the backline, however, which is causing the most consternation at the moment, with Trent Alexander-Arnold also ruled out for a couple of weeks after picking up a calf injury in the game against Manchester City, while midfielder Fabinho, who has appeared in his team’s defence when called upon, also missed the City game.
It is not yet certain when Thiago Alcantara will return, having missed the fixtures with both West Ham United and City following a heavy challenge in the Merseyside derby.
Amid all the injuries woes, though, there is a glimmer of hope. Liverpool supporters received a boost after Naby Keita played a full 90 minutes for Guinea in Wednesday’s 1-0 win against Chad in African Cup of Nations qualification, maintaining his country’s grip at the Group A summit.
Reds fans were also treated to some footage from the match, which the 25-year-old shared on his Instagram page.
Keita arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2018 from German club RB Leipzig for a fee of £52.7million, but injuries have robbed him of showing his true capabilities.
His first season at Liverpool saw him start just two of the six league matches against fellow top-four clubs.
Get all the latest updates on Joe Gomez’s injury after he underwent successful surgery on Thursday, plus breaking news and analysis of what’s next for the Reds.
You’ll also get the latest transfer talk and analysis straight to your inbox every day with our FREE email newsletter.
The final nine games of the 2019/2020 Premier League season saw his longest stretch of consecutive appearance for Liverpool, while prior to Project Restart, he had made only two starts and two substitute appearances in all competitions since the beginning of 2020.
Keita’s return to fitness will be a huge boost to Liverpool as they get their Premier League campaign back underway against Leicester City after the international break.
He gives the Reds midfield something different, thanks to his driving runs from deep and intelligent positioning when he gets into space.
Who should play at centre-back against Leicester? Pick your duo in our quick poll HERE.
It is arguably true that, while Klopp’s style has evolved in his favoured 4-3-3 formation, Keita is, more than two years after signing for the club, still trying to fit in tactically.
Liverpool supporters may have expected an even better version of the player he was at Leipzig, where he played further forward, sometimes in the No10 position, and enjoyed dropping off the forwards.
However, there can be little doubt that Keita is a top-class player and his potential return to the Liverpool starting XI can only be a boost right now, especially given how luck is against Klopp and his side when it comes to injuries.