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Liverpool can upgrade on Naby Keita with trademark Michael Edwards signing

Jurgen Klopp and Naby Keita should have been a match made in heaven.

On paper, the Guinean is perfect for the way that Klopp’s Liverpool set up: exceptional, at his best, both on and off the ball, and capable of producing excellent all-round showings.

But Keita’s problem has been clear: his injury record is poor, and it is no use being good on paper if that cannot be translated to grass.

According to Transfermarkt, Keita has had 14 separate injuries since arriving at Anfield, and while Klopp clearly still has a huge amount of faith in the 26-year-old – he started him away at Real Madrid, even if he only lasted 42 minutes – there has to be a question mark over the £52m man three years on from transferring from RB Leipzig.

In 18-year-old Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga lies a player who offers a similar style of play to Keita, but who has an impeccable injury record so far in his career.

Eduardo Camavinga fights for the ball with Chelsea star Jorginho

“He looks like the type of player that you don’t see very often,” said Josh Williams on the latest Under The Radar podcast from Blood Red.

“Klopp midfielders need a specific skillset and Gini Wijnaldum, in particular, is really adaptable.

“Pep Lijnders has described Liverpool as a chameleon before – it might change colour but it still knows it is a chameleon.

“Wijnaldum, for instance, is predominantly defensive and stays behind the ball, but if you want him to go inside the box and score a headed goal and get through against Barcelona, he can do that as well.

Listen to the full Under The Radar podcast by clicking HERE

“Klopp likes well-rounded players and Camavinga is that. He possesses a well-rounded skillset and is more defensive, but can dribble and get forward if get out of tight spaces if he needs to.

“With players at that age, they normally have to learn and make mistakes and for teams like Liverpool, I’m wary of signing them because you can suffer as they learn, but Camavinga is ahead of that.”

Rennes are not in desperate need to sell despite the problems in French football with their collapsed TV deal, as they are owned by businessman Francois Pinault, an independent, wealthy backer.

But Liverpool could still take advantage of a market inefficiency and get hold of Camavinga on the cheap this summer for two reasons.

Must-read Liverpool FC news

Firstly, the player’s contract will only have 12 months remaining on it by the time the next window opens and he is reportedly angling for a move so will not re-sign.

And secondly, he has stagnated a little bit this season and Rennes have had an up-and-down season, with a new manager coming in, meaning his quality is the same as ever, but his current valuation lower.

“A player of that age and potential usually costs a fair bit but the difference here is his contract,” Williams added.

“He is contracted until 2022 and people are led to believe that he is not signing [an extension] so that brings his value down.

“When Liverpool recruit, it is all about exploiting inefficiencies in the market and you have an 18-year-old with a really high ceiling but with a limited contract.

“If he is not signing, his club will want to get rid in the summer or they risk losing him for free.

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“He has the potential to be better than Wijnaldum and is left-footed as well, which is really nice.

“Klopp is always set on having a small squad, and gets around it by having players who are a) really versatile and b) very rarely suffer from injuries.

“Camavinga is still 18 so it can still come but he has not suffered from injuries, is always available, and the comparison to Keita is justified.

“Keita is better on the ball and is more unpredictable; Camavinga is safer but fits the mould of a modern midfielder capable with and without possession.

“Camavinga is doing pretty much all of what you would want from a midfielder.”

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