The match may have ended in typical Liverpool fashion, but the Reds first foray into Europa League action brought with it the return of Mamadou Sakho, who was handed the captain’s armband for the meeting with compatriots Bordeaux, and the Frenchman did nothing but serve up yet another reminder why he deserves to be featuring for the Reds week in and week out.
Rock solid throughout, the 25-year old was given a chance to impress with boss Brendan Rodgers making wholesale changes to the side that lost out to bitter rivals Manchester United at the weekend, and he took his opportunity with grace and the kind of composure that has been missing from the Liverpool back-line for far too long.
Video courtesy of @MrBoywunder
“He was certainly outstanding in his performance,” gushed Rodgers following the final whistle. “He knows he’s had to be patient and his attitude has been first-class. We won our first few games, our performance was good, so it was difficult up until the international break for him to play. But he’s trained very well and remained very professional, done his extra work on his fitness and you see tonight he has got his rewards for that,” he continued, before adding, “So he certainly comes into the reckoning for the weekend.”
Whether or not that carries any weight remains to be seen, but with the Reds conceding six goals in their past two outings, he’d certainty be justified in switching things up. Completing 90% of his passes, including a few ambitious long range efforts, Sakho helped the 3-4-3 formation play out from the back, but his real strengths remain in his defending and that was what was most impressive about his performance. Winning 67% of his duels, including 2/3 tackles and 4/5 aerial encounters, the Frenchman put in a performance befitting the shirt — one that he should be pulling on when Norwich City visit Anfield on Sunday.