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Liverpool cool Naby Keita interest after rejected bids - sources

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has his say on how Liverpool should proceed with Philippe Coutinho and Leipzig's Naby Keita.

BERLIN -- Liverpool have accepted RB Leipzig's unwillingness to sell Naby Keita and will wait until next summer to return for him, sources have told ESPN FC.

Liverpool had been tracking the Guinea midfielder all summer and had two bids rejected by the Bundesliga runners-up -- the second of which was worth €75 million, according to owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Leipzig's stance -- both publicly and privately -- has been that Keita is not for sale at any price this summer as the club embark on the Champions League for the first time in their history.

And, barring any U-turn from Leipzig while the transfer window is still open, Liverpool will put their interest in the 22-year-old on hold till next summer, sources have told ESPN FC.

It has been reported that Keita's contract includes an exit clause of £48m, which comes into activation next summer.

RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick recently hit out at the advisors of Keita and Emil Forsberg for unsettling the players this summer.

Rangnick drew criticism for implying that Keita's head had been turned by the "whole village in Guinea" and later tried to clarify the comments.

"I know Naby from the very first day when he came to Salzburg," he said. "We therefore have a very close relationship, also to his adviser. We are in a trusting exchange. That is exactly what I said in my lecture in Bochum.

"Behind many players with an African background, and I've met a lot of them, there is a clan and sometimes a whole village, that lives from the help of one football player. And it's the case that there are people behind Naby, that demand his transfer."

Meanwhile, Liverpool defender Connor Randall has completed a season-long loan move to Scottish side Hearts, the Merseyside club have confirmed.

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.

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