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Naby Keita not seeking early Liverpool switch - RB Leipzig CEO

Steve Nicol and Craig Burley explain why Liverpool will wait until the summer to sell Coutinho to Barcelona, but Sid Lowe makes the case for a January move.

RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has said Naby Keita has not asked for an early transfer to Liverpool and has dismissed concerns the midfielder's commitment could wane in his final months at the club.

In August, Liverpool agreed a deal to sign Keita next summer for a "a significantly higher transfer fee" than his €55 million release clause.

However, Mintzlaff played down the prospect that the 22-year-old could make the switch to Anfield in January.

"Neither Naby nor his agent have made the request to leave the club in the winter," the Leipzig chief told Bild. "There are contracts, and they say that he will be a Liverpool employee from July 1 onwards."

Leipzig, who finished runners-up last season in their first-ever Bundesliga campaign, are currently battling to ensure they qualify for the Champions League.

Naby Keita is due to join Liverpool at the end of the current season.

They sit fifth in the table, level on points with third-placed Borussia Dortmund but only two ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt in eighth.

Mintzlaff said he is confident Keita will continue to give it his all when the Ruckrunde -- the second half of the season -- commences later this month.

"It's not Naby's disposition [to save himself]. Our pros have character and are ambitious," Mintzlaff said. "I am not worried. In 2018, I expect everyone to step up with maximum mentality, force and character. That's what makes us strong, and that's what we need for a successful Ruckrunde.

"We want to achieve a lot, want to return to Europe and would love to again qualify for Champions League."

Elsewhere, kicker has reported that Liverpool could recall Ryan Kent from his loan with Freiburg.

The 21-year-old joined the Bundesliga side on a one-year loan in August but has spent only 245 minutes on the pitch.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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