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Exiled Liverpool Defender Becoming Key to Crystal Palace Survival

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Mamadou Sakho is finally playing football again, and the results have already been impressive.

West Bromwich Albion v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp remains an overwhelmingly popular figure amongst Liverpool fans, but he isn’t infallible. There have been things he has done wrong, decisions it is right to question, choices that in retrospect appear at best to have been a touch misguided.

Choices like the one to keep this season’s squad thin with Liverpool out of Europe despite first hand experience with a mid-season, injury-fuelled dip in form last year. Choices like relegating Mamadou Sakho to the reserves at a time when he was one of the club’s top two defenders.

Now, with Sakho performing well on loan at Crystal Palace, it’s a question many are asking, including former Tottenham striker Garth Crooks, a man best known these days perhaps for picking BBC’s Premier League team of the week.

“Less that a year ago, Sakho had acquired cult status at Anfield only to be unceremoniously shown the door by Jürgen Klopp after a disagreement between the two,” Crooks noted when selecting Sakho as one of this week’s top two defenders.

“Bust-ups between highly strung characters were commonplace in my day, so why it should signal the departure of this totally committed defender I don’t understand. Nevertheless, what has become surplus to requirements for Liverpool has been warmly greeted by Crystal Palace.

“The defender was magnificent against West Brom. Sakho continues to put his body on the line for Palace in the same way he did for Liverpool. How the Reds can dispense with the services of Sakho with the defence they have is worth a debate all by itself.”

Sakho has played a key role for Palace in back to back clean sheet victories that have helped the Eagles to put three points between themselves and the relegation zone, and so far at least, whatever happened between him and Klopp at Liverpool, it seems to be to their gain.

Meanwhile, back in Liverpool Jürgen Klopp has insisted there “is nothing we have to decide in this moment” when it comes to Sakho, though the consensus belief is that there remains no route back at Anfield for the French centre half.