Liverpool will carefully manage Naby Keita's return to match action, Jürgen Klopp has explained.

Keita played an hour of Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup win at Milton Keynes Dons in his first appearance since the Community Shield due to injury.

Klopp felt the midfielder could have featured for longer at Stadium MK but stuck to the pre-arranged plan with a view to Keita’s long-term importance for the team.

“It is very important [to keep him fit],” said the boss.

“Pep [Lijnders] needed to remind that it was agreed with me before the game that he should only play 60 minutes. So we took him off when it looked like he could go longer in that game.

“So we have to be really sensitive in that situation because, obviously, [the injury] came all of a sudden. He was injured in the summer break during the Africa Cup of Nations and then came back and he was injured again.

“So we have to be really careful. It’s a similar situation to Alisson but the team is doing so well there is no rush to bring him in.

“The toughest period is still to come. What we did so far was tough but the toughest period is still to come – November, December and January will come and we will need everybody for that period. We have to make sure they are all available.”

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