With the bulk of Liverpool’s players featuring at the World Cup this summer now eliminated from the competition following England’s early exit and Luis Suarez’s ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, the opportunities to watch the Reds internationals in action are getting fewer and farther between as the tournament winds down.
With France in action in a Round of 16 clash against Nigeria this afternoon, the chance to watch Mamadou Sakho hold the line for Les Bleus was a tempting one, but the 24-year old has failed to recover from a thigh problem picked up in the goalless draw with Ecuador and has been replaced by Arsenal man Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the French defence.
The Reds defender, who was handed the armband by France boss Didier Deschamps for one of their warm-up matches, played just over an hour of their draw with the South Americans before being replaced by Raphael Varane as a precaution. Deschamps had hoped that Sakho would be fit to face the Super Eagles, but the injury prone defender remains on the sidelines with the extent of his injury not yet fully divulged by the French camp.
After the Group Stages, the former Paris Saint-Germain man was listed as one of the top ten players of the opening rounds according to a statistical index, placing him one spot above Argentine maestro Lionel Messi. The absence of Sakho is certainly a set-back for France, who are looking to reach the World Cup finals for the first time since winning the competition on home soil in 1998, but also for Liverpool supporters who wanted to see the big man play.