Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has been suspended by the club pending an investigation into a failed doping test. As first reported by France’s RMC Sport, Sakho had been using a fat burner that, unbeknownst to the player, contained a banned substance.
Once this became known to the club there was no choice but to suspend the player pending an investigation, which is likely to prevent Sakho from playing for Liverpool again this season regardless of the outcome. Even a quick investigation and ruling by UEFA could take months.
Such was the case for current Liverpool defender Kolo Toure, who while with Manchester City in 2011 failed a doping test due to a weight loss supplement. It took the English FA three months to finish that investigation and pass judgement, and in the end Toure missed six months of football.
According to the French report, since confirmed by the club, Sakho was unaware of the composition of the fat burner he was taking and is convinced he will be able to prove his good faith to UEFA investigators, and the club are convinced that they will be able to help him in his efforts.
Still, this is terrible news for both club and player at just about the worst possible time, as it is almost certain to rule Sakho out for the remainder of the season at a time when Liverpool are three games away from silverware in Europe and still have an outside shot at the top four.
Addendum: A statement subsequently released by the club clarifies that Sakho has not been suspended, but that by mutual agreement, while the investigation is ongoing "the player will not be available for selection."