Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that it is unlikely that RB Leipzig will allow midfielder Naby Keita to leave the club in January 2018 as both clubs have a deal for the end of the season. The Reds agreed to pay a club-record £48m ($63m) fee to last season's Bundesliga runners-up for Keita to move to Merseyside in the summer of 2018.
The transfer was delayed by a season as the release clause in Keita's contract only comes into force next summer, while the Reds will also pay a premium on top of the release clause to secure his signing in advance.
Keita, who is a player in the shade of Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, scored eight league goals last season to help the club qualify for the Champions League in their first season in the Bundesliga. The midfielder has signed a five year contract at the club starting next summer with hopes that he will lead the club to greater heights.
Keita has made 19 appearances in all competitions for the German side this season, scoring five goals and receiving two red cards. The club are currently third in the Bundesliga, but are out of the German Cup and are playing Napoli in the Europa League last 32 after crashing out of the group stages of the Champions League.
"There is nothing else to say about that. We really don't think about it because of all the things Leipzig have said. They said they do not have to sell any player. Why should they do something like that (allow him move in January)? So no, we don't think about it," Klopp said, as quoted by the Express.
Klopp was also asked if he has kept in touch with the midfielder to which he replied: "No. He is a player of Leipzig."
The Reds are in the market in January 2018 with a defender top of their priority list. Virgin van Dijk has been heavily linked with a transfer from Southampton but the Merseyside club face competition from a host of other contenders.
Liverpool pursued Van Dijk as a priority target early on during the summer transfer window but formally ended their interest after Southampton threatened to report the Reds to the Premier League over an alleged illegal approach for the player.