Having quickly become one of the club’s most reliable players under manager Jürgen Klopp, it’s easy to forget that less than six months ago Mamadou Sakho’s future was in doubt. Brendan Rodgers never seemed to favour the French defender, and Sakho often found himself on the bench.
For the 26-year-old, entering the best years of his career and needing first team action to hold on to his role as a starter for the French national team, it was an awkward position. Sakho seemed happy at the club, but how long would that be enough if he wasn’t getting playing time and ended up losing his place with France?
With a Euros in his home country coming up, there were rumours that if things didn’t change quickly, he could be off in January. Then, things changed. Klopp arrived and the minutes followed. And, once again, there’s little doubt that when he’s fit, Sakho will be one of the first names for the French national team.
"It’s nice to be back in the selection," Sakho told the French press today. "With the new manager at Liverpool things are going differently for me. In football, a lot can happen off the field, and the most important thing is to stay focused. The former coach made choices. I accepted them and remained myself in training."
As for the question of what would have happened had Rodgers survived a few more months and January arrived with Sakho still not a regular, fortunately that’s something that came to pass. The defender, though, insists that even in the autumn when he wasn’t playing, he wanted to stay at Liverpool if at all possible.
"I always felt good in Liverpool," said Sakho when asked if he’d ever thought of pushing for a move away from Anfield. "In France, I didn’t gauge the full impact of the club’s history, but once I set foot inside, it’s fabulous. There’s a healthy atmosphere, and the team is young and talented.
"Honestly, I really like the city, the fans, and with this magnificent stadium… I am someone who likes stability, so it suits me perfectly."