Jurgen Klopp has no intention of allowing midfielder Naby Kieta to leave the club this summer.
The German coach is aware of the Guinea international’s contract situation, and made it clear that if Liverpool do decide to cash in, a replacement will have to be signed before deadline day on Aug. 31.
Kieta arrived from Red Bull Leipzig in a £48 million deal in 2018.
The Guinean has failed to establish himself as a regular starter under Klopp since his arrival, with Thiago Alacantra and Fabinho preferred in midfield alongside skipper Jordan Henderson.
The 27-year-old has one year remaining on his contract with the Reds and has thus far declined the chance to extend. The Liverpool hierarchy will be reluctant to lose him on a free transfer, and could look to cash in if he continues to reject their offer of a new deal.
Klopp does not want Keita to leave, as he considers the midfielder a key part of his squad. However, with the latter stalling contract negotiations, the German coach could be overruled, which has seen Klopp call for a replacement to be signed.
“And not replace him? No, that’s not possible, of course not. But it’s not the plan,” Klopp said, speaking ahead of Liverpool’s visit to face Manchester United on Monday night.
“We are not dumb that we think a player can go and we don’t replace him. No, there’s no chance. So, Naby will not go but if he would – what he will not do – there must be a replacement, of course.”
The German was clear that when all his players are fit, he is very happy with the squad at his disposal. However, he feels a club of Liverpool’s stature must always look to strengthen if the right opportunity presented itself before the end of the transfer window.
“It must be the right player and if the right player is not available in this moment then we tend to say, ‘OK, then we deal with what we have before we sign a player who is not 100 percent right.’ This situation never changed,” the Reds boss added.