Naby Keïta returned to Liverpool by private jet from Naples on Thursday having had tests that confirmed he did not sustain spinal damage in the Champions League defeat by Napoli.
The midfielder was found to have had a back trauma following scans at the Cardarelli hospital in Naples. The £52.75m signing was carried off in distress 19 minutes into the 1-0 defeat at Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday after a collision with José Callejón and kept in hospital overnight as a precaution.
Keïta had hoped to travel with the Liverpool squad on their scheduled flight on Thursday morning. The 23-year-old is expected to have a further assessment on Friday to determine whether he will be fit enough to play against Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool have denied claims Keïta also had heart tests in Naples. The reports, which originated in Italy shortly after the game, claimed the Guinea international was initially assessed for a heart problem. The midfielder collapsed with circulatory issues when playing for RB Leipzig against Wolfsburg in March 2017 but the problem on Wednesday was unconnected.
Dr Ciro Mauro, the director of the Cardarelli hospital’s cardiology unit and coordinator of its emergency admissions department, said: “Keïta’s been discharged. He’s got a flight to Liverpool at 2pm. He didn’t have a cardiologic problem, it was a strong back trauma. He had an MRI and CAT scan to rule out any problems to his spine.
“It is not related to a cardiovascular problem. The player was serene when he left and the Naples doctors have given him a good bill of health.”
Georginio Wijnaldum has described Liverpool’s defeat and poor performance as a timely “reality check” before the City game. “They were calmer than us on the ball, they defended well and stopped us creating chances,” the midfielder said. “It was not a good day for us.
“It’s a good game to learn from. That’s what we’re going to do – we’re going to analyse the game and see what we can do better.
“This was a reality check on how things must not go. It’s a good lesson for us to get better. We have to take it as a lesson and then we have to carry on.”
This article originally appeared on The Guardian