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Sakho: The Fitness Returns

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Mamadou Sakho is almost at full fitness after spending time with Liverpool’s under-23 team.

Borussia Dortmund v Liverpool - UEFA Europa League Quarter Final: First Leg Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images

What is it about Mamadou Sakho news that gets me going so much? I don’t know. But I like it. And I’ve got to say, I’m not really, really invested in Sakho’s future place or no place in this Liverpool team. I mean, I hope he stays and plays because I like the player and I like the person, or what I’ve gleaned from the press, but I’m a little unemotional about his “Liverpool Future.” So it goes. But, that’s not true of news about Sakho. I’m one hundred percent invested in Sakho news. Because the news has been good with Sakho. It’s good news. First, he was available to train. Then he was playing matches. It’s small victories and positivity for a defender who is running out of time to make a bigger impact on this team. Fortunately, time seems to be favoring the French international as under-23 coach, Michael Beale, says that Sakho should actually be nearing full fitness soon.

Mamadou featured against United on Tuesday and Beale had some very encouraging words when he spoke with the ECHO.

“I thought Mama looked strong,” said Beale. “United were always looking for their No 9 and his aerial threat but Mama showed his experience.

“Mama is training with us and he’s working hard every day. That’s the closest he’s looked to full fitness. A couple more games like that and we’ll see what happens from there.”

So, with Mamadou Sakho soon fit and ready to become a part of first-team preparations, will Klopp reintroduce the defender back into the fold with gusto or will Sakho struggle to even make the bench before midseason? Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren, those guys are starting to put something magical together out there (hope, hope). And Ragnar Klavan, the mighty, has been solid, if not impressive at times, in his appearances. He’s third choice on merit. That means that Sakho needs to kick it into high gear in order to beat out the legend of Joe Gomez as the next player onto that substitutes bench.

Jürgen Klopp will be needing to rotate more and more as the fixtures pile up and the holidays arrive and he’ll probably put Mamadou, Joe, Danny Ings and others on that domestic cup game circuit. They can prove themselves there and work their names into the manager’s future preparations or fail to be remembered. It’s a beautiful system, really. But, Mamadou Sakho’s is a special case. It’s not just a fitness or fit issue. You have Joe Gomez who is just on the rise back up. Ings is behind some very stiff competition for a place. Alberto Moreno sort of Alberto Moreno’ed himself out of a position. But, Sakho has the weight of his saga of sins on his shoulders.

Where does he stand with Klopp now, personally? Does that matter? Will we ever see the Frenchman put in a dominating performance again? Should we be preparing for landing or bracing for impact? How did we get here?