Last weekend, a frustrated Mamadou Sakho took to social media to complain he wasn’t being given the chance to regain his fitness by playing with the reserves. After a summer that saw the defender block a proposed loan move in an attempt to salvage his Anfield career, most saw it as a sign that his situation had become untenable.
However, since then, the player and manager had a meeting. And lo and behold, Sakho was given a run with the U23s against Wolfsburg mid-week. He is expected to be given another chance with the reserves this weekend, with Liverpool’s U23 side set to take on Ipswich. It may not be the Premier League, but at least he’s playing.
“It’s a rule for every player, work hard and do your best,” said Klopp when asked about Sakho’s situation and whether the defender would need to do anything special to get back in the first team picture. “I spoke to the team and I spoke to Mama, we spoke together and that’s it. From my side, everything is done and here we are.”
One of the club’s most popular players in recent seasons and a top defender when fit and on form, injuries and a subsequently overturned doping ban conspired to sideline Sakho for an expended spell. Then, the player had a falling out with Klopp over perceived unprofessional behaviour while on the club’s pre-season tour.
Also working against Sakho is that with his future in doubt, Klopp had looked elsewhere to steady his defence, bringing in not just Jöel Matip on a free transfer but also the veteran Ragnar Klavan. Even without the falling out with Klopp, it would have been a difficult road back to regular first team minutes for Sakho this season.
Regardless, and even without European football, it’s a long season. And now that Sakho is playing, he has a chance to regain fitness. If he can do that, and if he can keep his head down and work hard, the chance will come. Maybe not soon, but eventually. For now, that’s about the best anyone could have hoped for.