It has been over three weeks since the summer transfer window officially shut. Roughly three weeks since Mamadou Sakho officially left Liverpool for Crystal Palace to the tune of somewhere around £26 million. He’d been summarily exiled since early 2016 and gone on loan with the Eagles in the later half of the 2016-2017 season, after multiple breaches of club conduct rules, not the least of which being taking weight loss supplements without the club’s knowledge. There’s a lot to unpack about the Mamadou Sakho situation, but the fact is that he broke the manager’s trust, on multiple occasions, and was frozen out and sold for it. There’s not much that anyone else can do or say to change that.
With Liverpool’s defensive woes unfortunately lingering, the question remains for some people: Should Klopp have given Sakho another chance to make amends for his mistakes? There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that he’s a talented player, and Liverpool played better when the Frenchman was in defense - much of his departure can be felt similar to a certain baseball curse. (Maybe that’s me being dramatic). Liverpool legend and former center-back himself Phil Thompson seems to err on the side of drama, believing Sakho should’ve been allowed to stay and play another day.
"Our best defender at the start of this season has been allowed to leave,” Thompson said recently. "Mamadou Sakho was our best defender. He was a warrior, a fighter, a battler - all those things and you saw it at Crystal Palace last season.
"He was like that at Liverpool. I know there’s fallouts in football all the time but somewhere along the line you can’t cut off your nose to spite your face."
Repeated rule breaking can hardly be diminished to a simple “fallout”, and maybe that says more about the respect for the manager’s rules than anything else. Thompson went on to say his solution would’ve been to make up with the defender and rebuild what was otherwise a successful relationship.
"He should have made up with the boy, ban him for three or four months and then bring him back in," continued Thompson.
Sakho was banned, though, first by UEFA and then by Klopp himself. In that time, Klopp didn’t change his mind, didn’t see or hear anything that would convince him to change his mind, and was more than happy to let the Frenchman leave the squad.
The fact is that yes, Liverpool’s defensive problems remain and while it’s easy to wonder “what if” regarding the situation, it’s unproductive. Mamadou Sakho has officially left the club, left Merseyside, and is no longer “a Liverpool soldier.” To continue to bring up anything else is lazy and not helping anyone. Certainly not the current squad who have more important things to worry about.