Liverpool have played three pre-season matches and Dejan Lovren has lined up alongside presumptive lock to start Martin Skrtel in two of them despite having ended last season clearly behind Mamadou Sakho. This has led to some degree of consternation and hand-wringing amongst fans whose confidence in manager Brendan Rodgers remains paper thin following a difficult 2014-15 season.
It hasn’t helped, either, that over the past 24 hours, rumours in Italy have cropped up linking Sakho with a move to Lazio. There has even been the suggestion that Sakho’s agent is trying to orchestrate a move. Put two and two together and it adds up to speculation Rodgers is set on starting the season with Lovren on the pitch and Sakho on the bench as was the case early last year, and that Sakho—quite understandably—isn’t happy with this.
Not so fast, says Liverpool Echo reporter James Pearce, who can normally be counted on to have a solid line on what manager Brendan Rodgers is thinking. In his recap of Monday’s match against Adelaide, he slipped in the fact that Martin Skrtel and Sakho are considered the first choice partnership and that Lovren is likely to be a "bench warmer" come August and the first match of the Premier League season against Stoke City.
On Twitter, Pearce further suggested today that there is no interest selling Sakho this summer, which—when you put this two and two together—rather suggests there’s nothing to the story. That suggestions Sakho is set for the bench, is unhappy, and looking for a move to Italy amounts to nothing more than poorly sourced rumours abroad being spun into something larger by some of the less reputable examples of the English press.
@KimArentPoulsen No. He's going nowhere— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) July 21, 2015
It may be that Rodgers hasn’t given up on Lovren completely—and given he stands as Liverpool’s most expensive defensive signing and a player Rodgers pushed hard for, that’s not really a surprise—and is hopeful he can still find success at the club. Sakho, though, thoroughly earned a starting role alongside Martin Skrtel over the second half of last season, and there is nothing solid to suggest the situation has changed.