Over the longer term, there is little doubt Mamadou Sakho will have a roll to play for Liverpool. Here and now, with the club having not lost a league game in 2014 and with a settled defensive pairing in Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel, the defender's prospects aren't nearly as good. Having just returned from a torn tendon suffered against Chelsea in December, though, for now Sakho is just happy to be healthy again and in contention for playing time.
"I feel good now and I was delighted to be on the bench for the United game," said the 24-year-old centre half. "Two and a half months is a long time to be out and it was tough. It took much longer than we thought but I had to listen to my body. Initially we thought it was the muscle in my hamstring but it turned out to be the tendon which was causing the problem and that took more time to heal. I worked really closely with the medical staff to get back."
Salkho's first season in England hasn't gone as well as most would have hoped, with a long injury layoff and depth at his position meaning he has only played in 12 games since arriving at the club last summer. And barring an injury, that number isn't likely to go up much between now and the end of the season. Unfortunately for Sakho, it's a reality that likely undoes any chance he had of starting for France at the World Cup this summer.
He's likely to make the squad based on past performances for club and country, but unless he were to start—and impress—regularly over the final nine games of the season, anything more than that would be highly unlikely. Despite that, Sakho seems accepting of the fact that with the title in sight, Brendan Rodgers is almost certain to stick with the duo that's got Liverpool this far, and he insists he's willing to wait for his opportunity.
"It will be difficult to get back in the team because everyone is playing well," he said, "but at a big club like Liverpool you expect competition for places. Things are never easy in football. I am working hard and I am ready for when the manager needs me, [and] I am very happy here. Our first objective this season was to qualify for the Champions League and we’re in a great position to achieve that. We want to finish as high as we possibly can."
In another season, it would be easy enough to imagine that chance coming as early as next week, when Liverpool face Sunderland mid-week. This season, with Liverpool where they are now, it's nearly impossible to imagine anything but Agger and Skrtel at the back. It's unfortunate for Sakho, particularly with the World Cup on the horizon, but over the longer term it seems certain he will get his chance to shine for both club and country.