Liverpool hand massive blow as £48m star will not join the Reds in January

RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick has insisted that there is no chance of midfielder Naby Keita joining Liverpool ahead of schedule in the New Year.

The Guinea international is due to arrive at Anfield next summer after the Reds triggered the player’s £48m release clause, having reportedly seen a couple of bids knocked back in August.

There have been suggestions that Liverpool were keen to bring the deal forward to January, with Leipzig looking unlikely to progress in the Champions League, but Rangnick has other ideas and will keep Keita at the Red Bull Arena for another seven months.

“Even if we should not reach the knockout stages of Champions League, it would make no sense to allow Naby to join Liverpool earlier,” he told Leipziger Volkszeitung. “We want to qualify for Europe again, and we need Naby for that.”

Keita has made a slower start to the 2017-18 campaign compared to last time out, being dismissed in three games for club and country already this term.