Liverpool's depth in defense has long been an area of worry, and while the fullback spots continue to feel slightly unsettled, central defense is arguably as strong--or at least as deep--as it's been in years. The summer additions of Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho along with the retention of Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger gave the squad four first-team quality central defenders for the present, and the purchase of Tiago Ilori added to the ranks of youngsters expected to feature centrally in the future.
Toure impressed out of the gates, partnering Agger to great effect until his injury against Notts County, and Skrtel has since covered admirably despite lingering rumors that he'd be headed elsewhere. A freak accident left Agger sidelined for a spell as well, and Brendan Rodgers' shift to three at the back has meant that, along with Skrtel and Toure, Sakho has been a mainstay in the starting eleven after making wobbly debut deputizing at left-back against Swansea.
The French international has improved steadily since that point, impressing each time out with his commanding presence and ability on the ball. That's only natural, according to the player, who feels that his best is yet to come in a Liverpool shirt:
"I'm not yet at 100 per cent, I'm progressing with each match that we have. I work every day at training sessions to progress and to achieve the highest level. It's logical that I would improve. When you arrive in a country you don't know, you have to learn quickly about the differences in the game and have to get on and adapt yourself to the qualities of your teammates.
"(The 3-5-2) is not a problem for me. In the course of a match, you try to adapt to the system and style of play that's in use. Over the course of matches, you hope to be able to adapt to and dominate with a different system."
Improvement from here would mean clear status as Liverpool's number one central defender; on top form and fitness it's probably a dead heat between him and Agger, with Toure and Skrtel just below in the pecking order. With Agger struggling with both, though, it's Sakho leading the defense in terms of overall talent, and Toure with the organization and leadership. Right now it would appear to be between Agger and Skrtel for that third spot, and possibly only a matter of time before the Dane is back in action on a consistent basis.
If Mamadou Sakho does indeed do what's "logical" from here, the summer signing should be widely viewed as one of Liverpool's best in recent seasons. The price tag might have seemed a little steep at the time, and may yet prove to be if he plateaus, but early evidence indicates that the 23 year old (seriously, 23 YEAR OLD) can have a long and fruitful career on Merseyside, and hopefully one that ushers in a period of improvement both individually and collectively.