Mamadou Sakho was a last minute addition to the starting line-up against West Ham last weekend after Daniel Agger took ill, and an excellent performance from the Frenchman was capped by scoring his first Liverpool goal. Like many players, Sakho was quick to downplay his accomplishment in the grand scheme of the net result.
“It was great for my own personal achievement to score,” said Sakho. “But really the most important thing was that Liverpool won the game. I’ll always do the best I can for the team to help us get good results.
“Everyone wants to be playing regularly, but at the end of the day the manager will decide. I know I have to work really hard if I am going to keep my place.”
Sakho isn't immune to the Top Four-itis that plagued the club last year, but sitting in second place makes such discussions imminently more palatable. The defender is keen not to get ahead of himself with top of the table daydreams, though.
“Everybody has winning the league in their sights but our main objective this season is to get in the Champions League," Sakho clarified. “We’re working hard to achieve that. The team is playing well, the spirit is good and we are moving forward together.”
“We all realise the importance of these big games coming up. We’ll play as hard as we can to get the points we need to remain in the top four. This time of year will be like preparation for next season when we hope to be back in the Champions League and playing even more games.”
Sakho's perspective is one we could probably all learn from. Premier League fans lament the horrific December schedule every single year, but a packed schedule is a side effect of Champions League involvement and if you want to play in Europe's top club competition, you better get used to a congested fixture list. It's important to have the squad depth necessary to deal with such an eventuality, but this is the future everyone is craving. We might as well enjoy it.