Berlin (AFP) – Naby Keita showed why Liverpool want to sign him in this transfer window by scoring a superb goal for RB Leipzig in Saturday’s 3-1 Bundesliga win over Schalke.
The 22-year-old Guinea midfielder, who already has a contract with Liverpool to join them next season, showed his class with a thunderbolt of a shot to give Leipzig the lead just before half-time.
The result lifted Leipzig to second, 13 points behind leaders Bayern Munich who won 3-1 at Bayer Leverkusen on Friday, while Schalke drop to third.
Liverpool reportedly want to bring Keita to Merseyside early after losing Philippe Countinho, who signed for Barcelona last week for 160 million euros ($192 million).
However, before kick-off, Leipzig’s director of sport Ralf Rangnick insisted Keita will not leave until the end of the season.
“There is no offer from any club, we found a solution last year in September and I expect him to play 19 more games with us,” Rangnick told Sky.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are set to pay around 70 million euros for the midfielder, but reports say they would pay an extra 15 million for Keita to join them early.
After Leipzig’s Jean-Kevin Augustin had a penalty saved by Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, Keita struck by rifling a shot home off his right boot on 41 minutes.
He was taken off after fouling Alessandro Schoepf on 54 minutes — his fifth booking this season which means he is suspended for next Saturday’s game against Freiburg.
Schalke drew level on 55 minutes when Brazil defender Naldo headed home, but Leipzig sealed the win with two goals in quick succession as Timo Werner came off the bench to score on 69 minutes after great work from Emil Forsberg.
Portugal midfielder Bruma then slammed home a third goal two minutes later as Schalke suffered a first loss in 13 games, a run stretching back to September.
– De Jong blunder –
Earlier, Nigel de Jong made an unhappy return to the Bundesliga by conceding a first-half penalty as Mainz threw away the lead in a 3-2 defeat at Hanover.
The 33-year-old, who played for Hamburg between 2006 and 2009, has signed for Mainz until the end of the season.
His new club claimed early goals by Japan striker Yoshinori Muto and Alexander Hack.