With the window nearing its end, Liverpool fans were surprised to learn the club was seeking to send centre half Mamadou Sakho out on loan. For a 26-year-old who had at times been the club’s best defender last season, this was an unexpected and unfortunate twist in Sakho’s personal saga.
The most serious suitor appeared to be Stoke City, who under Mark Hughes have consistently targeted technically talented players many would consider above their station in an effort to improve their results while also improving their style of play following the end of the Tony Pulis era.
Sakho, though, signalled he wasn’t eager to leave; that he would instead stay and work and fight for a chance at Liverpool this season. The club feel differently, and have signalled to their connected journalists that Sakho faces a season spent on the bench—or worse, in the stands—if he remains.
According to the Mail’s Dominic King and others with ties to the club, Sakho has been told that if he remains he will not be in line to play this season. Unexpected of injuries and poor form could always conspire to change the situation, but right now Sakho is well down the pecking order.
Many fans will baulk at the idea, yet when an injured Sakho was sent home from the team’s pre-season tour, it was clear something was amiss between him and manager Jürgen Klopp. It’s also worth noting that Sakho hasn’t played a meaningful minute of football in more than half a year now.
With his suspension for a purported performance enhancing drugs violation—a charge that was later overturned with Sakho cleared—followed by a pre-season injury, Sakho has been sidelined for some time. He’ll need to play if he’s to have a chance to salvage his career, at Liverpool or elsehwere.
And he needs to play at a time when the coach is at best skeptical of his attitude and he’s fallen to fourth, at best, on the club’s depth chart. West Brom are now reportedly enquiring. Even if a loan might signal the end of his Liverpool career, it may be a move Sakho now has to make.