Naby Keita was a surprise inclusion in Liverpool’s starting line-up to face Real Madrid but the decision to play him ‘backfired’, according to Dietmar Hamann.
The midfielder lasted just 42 minutes in the Spanish capital as Jurgen Klopp replaced him with Thiago Alcantara with the Reds 2-0 down.
Klopp admitted after the match that the decision to substitute Keita, who has been linked with Leicester, was tactical and this performance has ex-Liverpool star Hamann worried about the 26-year-old’s future at the club.
Hamann told talkSPORT: “He hasn’t found his feet. It’s his third year now at Liverpool and he’s hardly made an impact.
“It’s really tough to see because he was such an influential player in Germany [at RB Leipzig] but he just hasn’t found his feet [at Liverpool]. Klopp tried to start him but it all backfired, you’ve got to say.
“There are a few weeks left of the season and I think there are big questions marks about whether he’s still there next season. He certainly doesn’t seem to be the player he was in Germany.”
Liverpool improved after the interval, but their status in Europe’s premier club competition this season is hanging by a thread as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat.
All of Real Madrid’s goals were avoidable, the first two particularly coming through some lax Liverpool defending.
The second goal, scored by Marco Asensio, came due to a clear error by Trent Alexander-Arnold but Hamann believes the full-back should have done better for the first one too, which saw Carlos Vinicius latch onto Toni Kroos’ long ball before slamming past Alisson Becker.
Hamann added: “I think in the first half Alexander-Arnold struggled really. He’s responsible for the second goal when he tried to head the ball back to Alisson Becker and there were a couple of incidents where he got beaten on his side.
“Also I think for the first goal he should be a bit closer to Nat Phillips. Phillips has got to defend better but I think he [Alexander-Arnold] is about 19-20 yards from Phillips. It’s a long ball, I think he’s got to tuck further in.
“I was surprised he didn’t get called up for England. Yes, he had a tough spell in recent months but I certainly think he’s one of the two best right-backs in England.
“He’d be in my team at the Euros but he’s got to defend better. It’s always been his Achilles heel.”