As soon as the team sheet for Stoke City was released with Mamadou Sakho nowhere to be seen, it was clear what was happening. Some Liverpool fans held on to the hope that it was due to Sakho having just had a new baby, but such is rarely an event that keeps a player out of action unless it coincides with an actual match.
With the player again not even making the matchday squad against Bournemouth, it’s now clear that at best, Sakho is well down the defensive pecking order. At worst, it could well signal a complete disintegration of the relationship between player and manager. And so, following reports Liverpool had rebuffed Roma interest in the French national team starter, we have reports of Bayern Leverkusen interest.
As was the case with Roma, the suggestion is that Liverpool have said they aren’t looking to deal. How long they can go on saying that while Sakho doesn’t even make the matchday squad, though, is an open question, as sooner or later the player will begin to push for a move. He may already be doing so, despite reports that he had hoped to make a long stay on Merseyside as recently as last month.
Sakho earned the starting role on merit last season, yet a week into pre-season he found himself slotted behind Dejan Lovren on the depth chart again. It’s easy to look at Liverpool’s schedule and say he will get games, get chances, but it would be easy to understand the player deciding that even if he takes them, does everything to prove he deserves to be starting, he’ll still find himself behind Lovren.
Rodgers has telegraphed that he has a favourite, and in doing so given Sakho no compelling reason to stay and fight for his place. Because why bother? He stayed last year. He fought. It was universally believed he had won that fight to prove to Rodgers he should be first choice. And now, once again, he’s on the bench. In a Euros year. With those Euros set to be held in his home country.
There are two weeks to go in the transfer window, but despite Liverpool’s insistence they aren’t looking to sell, it’s hard to imagine Sakho still at the club when it closes. Not when there’s interest from Champions League clubs on the continent and he can’t even make Brendan Rodgers’ matchday squad.