“We lost Sadio, Phil was not really 100 per cent fit. It was a different situation.”

Klopp claims there was little to chose between Liverpool and City going into that game in September before Mane’s sending off at 1-0 helped the Blues win 5-0.

If it were true, Keita would become the first player to wear the No.8 for Liverpool since Steven Gerrard left.

Jurgen Klopp was initially prepared to wait for Keita but following Philippe Coutinho’s £142million transfer to Barcelona, he is reportedly desperate to get the deal done now.

Regardless of any new agreement, Klopp’s side take on Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday without Keita.

Keita has also been keen to join Liverpool early after Leipzig were knocked out of the Champions League. Keita would be cup-tied for the competition but would nonetheless relish a move.

The details of the original transfer agreement from last summer are reported to include fees that could rise to £66million, but it is unclear how much Liverpool would have to pay to sign him now instead.

The two clubs agreed a deal last summer for the Guinean to move to Anfield at the end of the season, but reports surface on Friday evening that the Reds convinced Leipzig to bring the deal forward.

“They didn’t do too bad before that, but after that they were like ‘Ah, we’re really good’.

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