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Guinea coach reveals how he negotiated with Liverpool to secure Keita release

22-Mar-2021, 04:05 am

Naby Keita Liverpool 2020-21

Guinea coach Didier Six has revealed details of his negotiations with Liverpool after the Premier League club agreed to release Naby Keita for one of the country’s two upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Guinea captain Keita has been cleared to play Group A leaders Mali in Conakry on March 24, with Guinea currently two points behindMohamed Magassoubas in second.

However, under the terms of agreement with Liverpoolthe 26-year-old will then return to Merseyside and miss the trip to Namibia the following weekend, ensuring he will not miss any games for the Reds because of coronavirus quarantine restrictions.

"We negotiated with Liverpool, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world, to have Naby Keita for the first game," Six told AFP.

"After that we put him on the plane immediately and he will be available for the [Premier League] restart after seven days in isolation, during which time he can train.

"I made a proposal to the clubs so that we could be as strong as possible for the first match.

"It takes diplomacy, theres no point in yelling."

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic,and resultant quarantine rules, has caused chaos for international managers as they attempt to gather their squads together from across the globe.

Governing body FIFA has said clubs do not have to release players for international duty if they would subsequently be without them due to coronavirus protocols.

Two rounds of South American qualifiers have been postponed for this reason, with countriessuch as Argentina and Brazil on the United Kingdoms restricted travel list, which stipulates that travellers from the nations must complete a lengthy isolation period before being allowed to circulate.

Namibia is also on the restricted travel list, meaning Keita would have had to quarantine for 10 days on his return to the UK had he played in that game.

That would have ruled him out for the Premier League trip to Arsenal on April 4 and the first leg of Champions League quarter-final three days later. However, the agreement withGuinea means the midfielder will return home and be available for when the Reds return to action.

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