Liverpool flop suspended by club and hit with heavy fine after refusing to board team bus

The player left Liverpool in the summer after coming to the end of his contract

Former Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has been suspended for the remainder of the Bundesliga season and fined by Werder Bremen after refusing to travel with the squad for last weekend’s loss at Bayer Leverkusen.

The club said in a statement the player went home and refused to board the team bus after finding out he was not in the starting XI for the game which Bayer won 5-0 to claim their first-ever Bundesliga title and end Bayern Munich’s 11-year dominance of German football. Werder Bremen are 12th in the table and just five points above the bottom three in the Bundesliga.

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A club statement read: “Werder Bremen officials have suspended Naby Keïta until the end of the season. In addition, the Green-Whites have imposed a significant fine on the midfielder. From now on, the 28-year-old will neither train with the team nor spend time in the professional dressing room.

“Naby Keïta did not travel with the team to Leverkusen on Saturday after he found out that he would not be in the starting eleven for the Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen, but decided to go home and stay away from the game.”

“Naby’s behavior cannot be tolerated for us as a club. With this action, he let his team down in a tense sporting and personnel situation and placed himself above the team. We can't allow that. At this stage of the season we need full focus on the remaining games and a team that is very close together. There was therefore no alternative to our measures,” said Clemens Fritz, head of professional football at Werder Bremen.

Keita joined Bremen last summer following his departure from Anfield. However, he has continued to be hampered by injury and has played just 106 minutes for the German outfit in the Bundesliga this term. His time at Liverpool was constantly disrupted by long injury spells, as he struggled to live up to the £52m price tag Liverpool paid for him back in 2018. In his final season at the club, he made just eight Premier League appearances.

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Prior to his suspension on Tuesday, Keita had taken to Instagram ahead of the Leverkusen game to defend his actions over the weekend. He wrote: "I wish to clarify my situation at my club Werder Bremen. Ever since I arrived at this magnificent club, I have always shown my professionalism.

"I have always tried to help the club and the great supporters, especially during this time of poor results. Since the start of my career I have never had problems with my discipline and have always shown an exemplary attitude. I will not accept any person trying to tarnish my image.

"To the supporters, I would like you to know that in every training session, I fight so that I can make you happy every weekend. Training, giving everything, these are the limits of my power. To my teammates, good luck for our match. Go Werder!"

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