Late on Monday, news Mamadou Sakho was being made available for loan shocked Liverpool fans around the globe. Early on Tuesday, the reports were further confirmed, with the added twist that part of why Sakho was being loaned was because Jürgen Klopp wanted to make room to use Lucas Leiva as his fourth centre half.
If Sakho has indeed fallen behind Dejan Lovren, Joël Matip, and maybe even Ragnar Klavan on the depth chart, it’s not a completely unreasonable idea—much as fans who are convinced Sakho is the club’s best centre half might not like it. But if, right now, Klopp has Sakho fourth on the depth chart, it’s hard to justify keeping him.
If he’s fourth on the depth chart, he isn’t going to get the minutes he needs to regain form and fitness. If he’s fourth on the depth chart, he’s going to be mostly sat on the bench losing value. If he’s fourth on the depth chart, his minutes might be better given to another player who can add to their minutes covering multiple positions.
Lucas, as fourth centre half and second specialist defensive midfielder, makes more sense than Sakho as fourth centre half, and if that’s truly what Klopp sees him as now, a loan sadly might be best for all involved. Bringing Lucas into it, though, might not be best for Lucas. Or at least that’s what the veteran Brazilian thinks.
@JamesPearceEcho can you have more responsibility when you involve my name?— Lucas Leiva (@LucasLeiva87) August 23, 2016
You putting me against the fans for something I've nothing to do
Understandably, Lucas is a touch upset by the optics—by having his continued presence at the club played against the departure of a fan favourite. He’s upset by the optics that, for some fans, would make him the easy one to blame rather than Klopp. Or rather than Sakho, who has fallen out with Klopp over the summer.
And fair play to him for it, though the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that James Pearce and The Echo were setting Lucas up to be the villain. Mostly they were pointing out that Lucas, as fourth centre half and second specialist defensive midfielder, makes more sense than Sakho as just the fourth centre half.