Friday 20 April 2018

Liverpool reject Roma loan bid for Sakho as Brendan Rodgers expects Anfield departures

Mamadou Sakho cost Liverpool £18m when he signed for the club two years ago
Mamadou Sakho cost Liverpool £18m when he signed for the club two years ago

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool have rejected a loan bid from Roma for centre-half Mamadou Sakho.

The French defender has found himself relegated to the role of back-up status at the start of the season, with manager Brendan Rodgers preferring the partnership of Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel.

That has alerted several clubs to the possibility of a deal for Sakho, but Liverpool are unwilling to allow him to leave for Serie A on loan.

The Merseyside club paid £18 million to Paris St Germain for Sakho two years ago. He is a popular player with the Anfield supporters, but his career has been severely disrupted by injury.

Each time manager Rodgers has given him a run in the team, he has lost his place due to another muscular problem. Lovren, who endured a tough first season on Merseyside after a £20 million switch from Southampton, began the current campaign well at Stoke City last weekend.

Sakho is not a player Liverpool are actively trying to sell – unlike several other members of the squad – and the shortage of centre-half options would mean only a huge bid and the possibility of recruiting a swift replacement would prompt a change before now and the end of the window.

However, speaking ahead of Monday’s Premier League encounter with Bournemouth Rodgers confirmed there are likely to be departures before the transfer window closes.

“It is natural at this stage of the season,” said Rodgers.

“There will be moves for some players. Every player understands where he stands in the squad but the window is still open and I’m sure there will be some movement. I’ve always said the window should close before the season starts – there is a moral and sporting issue.

"Players are unsure where they stand and where they are at. Everything is settled within squads when window is shut as people can focus on their professional life.”

In addition, Rodgers has warned Alberto Moreno and Lazar Markovic they must readjust to being back-up options this season, although he said both will get their chance eventually given the fixture demands.

“Both (Moreno and Markovic) are very talented players, clearly that is why they have come here,” said Rodgers.

“Maybe for the first time in their careers they find they might not be a regular but it is a long season and they will be needed. It is when the opportunity comes you take it and keep yourself in the team. Every player knows that.”

Rodgers is mulling over whether to give Brazilian Roberto Firmino his first start on Monday night. The £29m summer signing scored a hat-trick in a friendly earlier this week.

“He is building up his fitness really well and he helps himself because he trains to the maximum every day,” said Rodgers.

“He is a good guy in every aspect of his life and thrown himself into football and learning the language – working hard. He is very close to being ready.”

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