After a brief period of uncertainty in the lead-in to this summer's World Cup, Mamadou Sakho cemented his place in the heart of the French defense. An injury to Laurent Koscielny opened the door for the 24-year-old, but his performances over the final few friendlies left no doubt as to whether or not he should be selected. Once in Brazil, the commanding displays continued, and Sakho finished the tournament as one of the more impressive center-halves on display.
He mostly continued his impressive form for country in his first match back on Thursday evening, easily handling Diego Costa and Spain's forward line in the 1-0 France win. He again partnered well with Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, and the duo were dominant in the air and, as to be expected at this point, comfortable playing out from the back. No matter how awkward it might have looked.
Now Sakho and France will face Serbia (with Lazar Markovic in tow) later today, and once that's wrapped up Sakho will return to Merseyside, where his place in the first eleven is far less secure. He received his first start of the season last Sunday against Spurs, with Martin Skrtel--who'd started the first two matches of the season alongside Dejan Lovren--left out due to injury. Sakho and Lovren were solid at times and shaky at others, and neither covered themselves in too much glory despite the clean sheet.
Which, assuming Skrtel is fit, leaves Brendan Rodgers to decide on the two spots between the three defenders yet again. If Sakho's shows the type of form he produced against Spain on a more consistent basis, though, his spot should be plenty secure moving forward.
Video by LFCTikiTaka