A year ago, Mamadou Sakho was a cult figure whose fortunes were on the rise under new Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. By the time the spring arrived, hardly a game went by without the fans chanting his name. Now, he’s playing with the u23s and can’t even make the bench for the EFL Cup.
Then, a failed test for a fat burner. Eventually, the doping charge was overturned—Sakho was innocent. But the damage had already been done. Liverpool and Klopp had moved on, and pushed Sakho towards a loan move in the summer. It didn’t happen then, but it’s looking as though it will in January.
Yesterday, a handful of reports in France linked Sakho with a January move to Lille. Today, L’Equipe have joined the fray, claiming that his Liverpool career is over and that he will be sold when the transfer window opens. They make no claim as to his likely destination; just that he will depart Liverpool.
Given L’Equipe’s standing in French football and that they knew sooner than most that Sakho was heading to Liverpool in 2013, their claims that he “no longer exists in Jürgen Klopp’s eyes” may be a signal the player has accepted his Liverpool career is unsalvageable and that he will need to move on to reestablish himself.
Having spent much of the past year sidelined, first due to the doping ban then injury and then his outcast status at Anfield, the 26-year-old certainly needs to find first team minutes somewhere. As sad as it is, a year on from the chanting and adulation, doing so would probably be best for everyone.