What now for Mamadou Sakho?
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on September 27, 2016
Last week, Mamadou Sakho threw more fuel on the fire that is his relationship Jurgen Klopp with comments made on Snapchat that effectively branded Liverpool and Klopp as liars. This is the latest part of a drama that has been going on for several months now, and it has led to Sakho being told that he will only play a part this season if there is a major injury crisis, but there are serious doubt over whether he will ever play for the Reds again. With that in mind, would Liverpool be better off getting rid of the charismatic Frenchman? Let’s take a look.
The problems for Sakho started back in April when he served a suspension while under investigation by UEFA for failing a drugs test. Although it later turned out that Sakho had done nothing wrong, he still missed out on crucial games for Liverpool, including the Europa League semi-finals and final. He then returned to the Liverpool fold during pre-season, not in a playing sense due to an injury, but did travel to the USA with the squad before being sent home by Klopp for being unprofessional and a bad influence on the squad as they prepared for the current season. Those two incidents alone had caused Sakho to fall well out of favour with Klopp and had been training alone for a short time but had resumed training with the rest of the squad recently. But, Sakho has evidently been getting frustrated at his treatment and lack of opportunities so far this term, so in the early hours of Saturday morning took to the social media platform Snapchat to vent his anger, saying over three messages:
‘’Still happy to live in my ‘Liverpool Country’ with my family. Hope to play soon to give my best like I try to do always! Good night everybody’’.
‘’I accept my situation but I don’t accept the lies. The fans deserve to know the truth! Thanks for your support’’.
‘’Now it’s 3 weeks since I have been fit again to play games. I have finished all my rehabilitation work. They don’t want me to play, not even with the second team! Why I don’t know’’.
It is understandable that Sakho isn’t happy with his lack of playing time, after all, he is a professional footballer who has shown what he is capable of at the top level time and time again. But, no matter how he is feeling, if he wanted to get back into the side and prove himself to his manager, this obviously was not the way to go about it. If anything, this has set him back even further, with Klopp describing the situation as ‘’not positive’’ but saying very little else on it as it was ‘’not the right moment’’.
His late night rant comes just weeks after he decided to stay at Liverpool during the transfer window, despite being told by Klopp that he would not be playing this season and that he wanted him to go away to another club on loan to prove himself again. Sakho reportedly rejected moves to clubs including West Bromwich Albion, Stoke and Besiktas in order to stay on Merseyside and earn his place back, and by doing that he knew what kind of season he was letting himself in for, so it is bizarre that he has lost his cool so soon and potentially ruined any slim chance he had of featuring for the club this season.
Possibly the saddest thing about it all is that Sakho is a good footballer and a good defender, arguably Liverpool’s best. His passion, commitment and leadership are all defining qualities of the man who has been at the club since 2013, and yes he may be capable of giving fans and coaches a few ‘mini heart attacks’ every few games with his unorthodox style of play, but he didn’t become captain of PSG at 17 years old for no reason. He was, and still is with some, real fans favourite because of his clear love of the club he calls the ‘Liverpool Country’, and although he has gone about it in a strange way, his latest antics further show his determination to play for the Reds. In a way, that has to be admired.
But, is he really worth it? Liverpool has had a great start to 2016/17 without him and the only thing that he has contributed with so far this season is another story to the saga between himself and the club which, in all honesty, is becoming a little irritating. He is becoming a problem Liverpool don’t need as they look to build on a start to the campaign which has seen them pick up 13 points from 6 games and put in some truly brilliant performances. Besides, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Lucas Leiva have proved to be good enough options up until now. The defence is still vulnerable and does concede easy goals, but it’s not as if that was any different when Sakho was starting regularly.
The French International does have a history of misbehaving or having disagreements with his coaches. In the past, Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Claude Makelele and Brendan Rodgers have all had problems with him in relation to behaviour and attitude. And now Jurgen Klopp has been added to that list, so as much as Sakho may come across as a loveable and fun guy to the public, he can’t be great to work with as a coach. To have as many issues with as many coaches as he has, including world class ones such as Ancelotti and Klopp, he clearly has a problem. What’s more, Sakho is 26 years old now and is seemingly set in his ways, so he is unlikely to be able to change how he is no matter how hard he tries or who tries to change him. Unfortunately for Sakho, that could bring his time at Liverpool to an end and affect him for the rest of his footballing career.
The position he finds himself in at Liverpool has been brought on by himself. From taking a drug that could have seen him receive a lengthy ban and his club lose one of their best players, to being late for the plane to the USA and then misbehaving during the tour to making ill thought out comments on Snapchat that was disrespectful to his employees, all of it was done by him. All of it could have been completely avoided too if he would have just been that bit more disciplined and professional. No matter how much the fans like Sakho, as a player, a person or both, if he is going to continuously put his and in some ways the clubs name in a negative light, then the best option would be to let him go. It’s not just himself that could be affected by his actions, but it is the team’s success, his teammates and even the youngsters in the club, who will see him as a senior professional and a role model, and some of what he does is certainly not ideal for them to be seeing.
It would be a shame to see Sakho’s Liverpool career fizzle out. In form, Sakho was a great option for the Reds to have and certainly gave his all in every game, hence why he became a starter and much-loved character. Don’t forget, just before his ban he played a starring role in those memorable games against Borussia Dortmund and Everton, scoring in each and further enhancing his reputation with the Anfield faithful. But since then, his career has gone in somewhat of a downward spiral and after his latest comments, he is probably more out of control of his own future than he ever has been before. It is up to Klopp and his staff what happens with Sakho after this season, but judging from what we know now, his spell with Liverpool will be coming to a sour end much sooner than he had hoped for.