Mamadou Sakho’s time at Liverpool was eventful to say the least but his form for Crystal Palace could save his Liverpool future.
Issues with Klopp
Things were going well for Mamadou Sakho; he’d formed a partnership with Dejan Lovren, he’d helped Liverpool to the Europa League final and he had a home European Championship to look forward to with France. However all that would go in to disarray when he was found to be taking a substance called higenamine.
Higenamine was found in a fat-burner he had been taking. This fat-burner had been checked to ensure it was legal with Wada (World Anti-doping Agency) and as such Sakho was eventually found innocent.
Whilst Sakho may have been found innocent he still took a substance without informing the club. All parties involved, including his manager Jürgen Klopp, were clearly frustrated at this incident. The player went on to miss the Europa League final and European Championship through voluntary suspension.
With Sakho being given the all-clear, he joined up with his teammates for a pre-season tour of USA, despite being injured. During this trip frustrations grew further between Sakho and Klopp.
Having first failed to inform Klopp that he was taking a fat-burner his unprofessionalism then got him sent back to Liverpool.
Once returning from injury Klopp thought it would be best if Sakho spent some time on loan to regain match fitness after several months out. A deal was arranged for him to move on loan to Stoke which the player rejected further increasing Klopp’s annoyance.
Following this, Sakho would not feature again for Liverpool as Klopp forced him to train with the U23s. Eventually, in January, Sakho agreed on a loan move to Crystal Palace after reportedly being tempted by former Liverpool teammate Christian Benteke.
Opportunity at Crystal Palace
Working under former England manager Sam Allardyce, Sakho’s Crystal Palace career got off to a great start. In his first game for the club he kept a clean sheet against Middlesbrough with a fantastic display. Clean sheets against West Brom and Watford resulted in him being nominated for the March Premier League player of the month.
Outstanding victories against Chelsea and Arsenal followed with Sakho playing a big part in ensuring a Palace win. Unfortunately for the player, a potential season-ending injury curtailed his opportunity at Crystal Palace.
Despite only playing eight games for Crystal Palace Sakho was named on the shortlist for Crystal Palace’s player of the season.
Sakho will return to his parent club Liverpool in the summer and there are sure to be intense discussions with Klopp. It would be easy to assume Liverpool have moved on from Sakho after signing Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan last summer. However Liverpool’s defence this season has once again been disappointing.
Mamadou Sakho has proved his quality at Crystal Palace and would certainly be an upgrade on Klavan and arguably Lovren also. Despite this, there is presumably still an issue between Sakho and Klopp. Therefore it may not matter at all how much quality Sakho has if he and Klopp refuse to work together.
It looks more than likely that Sakho will depart Anfield in the summer but it will leave Liverpool and the player wondering what could have been. A player of Sakho’s quality deserves to be playing regularly and if Klopp can’t offer him that it would probably be best if he moved elsewhere.
Sakho was initially signed by former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in 2015 for £18m which was seen as a hefty transfer fee for a centre back at the time. However in these times Liverpool would probably be able to make a healthy profit to reinvest in their team.
Should Sakho be sold Liverpool would have been looking for around £30m last January but after a string of impressive performances for Palace his value is now closer to £40m. Sam Allardyce is expected to try and make Sakho’s loan move permanent however West Ham and Southampton amongst others are thought to be interested in the centre back.
Should Liverpool keep hold of Sakho? Is he too much trouble for the club? Leave us your thoughts in the comments box below.