Tuesday 23 January 2018

Liverpool name Mamadou Sakho in under-23 squad despite last week's late night rant

Mamadou Sakho faces an uncertain future at Liverpool
Mamadou Sakho faces an uncertain future at Liverpool

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho’s football exile will end on Wednesday when he joins the club’s under-23 squad.

Sakho has not played since being banned by Uefa last April – a punishment for a drug violation later quashed – and following injuries and a fall-out with manager Jürgen Klopp.

Only last weekend the Frenchman further inflamed tensions with his boss by using social media to accuse Liverpool of telling ‘lies’ about his most recent absence.

Among his complaints was his non-inclusion in reserve games – a situation that has evidently been remedied by his being named in the Premier League International Cup game against Wolfsburg.

It is not yet clear if he will start the fixture at Tranmere Rovers’ stadium, Prenton Park, but his selection in the squad represents a tentative first step in the right direction.

Although Klopp showed his discontent with Sakho, especially given the timing of his 3am outburst ahead of last weekend’s 5-1 win over Hull, the German coach is offering some hope to the player by refusing him to completely banish him.

Sakho’s conduct will no doubt be under scrutiny as he tries to save his Anfield career, well aware it is a long way back to first team action.

His issues on and off the park are not the only hindrance to his chance of a first team return. The form of those who have filled the void in his absence represent a significant obstacle.

New signing Joel Matip has been superb since breaking into the first team, while Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren have also shone during the course of the opening games.

Klopp would also select Lucas Leiva in central defence if necessary.

The Liverpool manager said he would deal privately with Sakho’s latest disciplinary indiscretion, so the player’s swift opportunity to make amends is significant.

Last August, Sakho decided not to go on loan to improve his fitness despite a warning from Klopp he was in no condition to compete for a first team spot.

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