Although reports of Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho being “banished” from the first team after he failed to leave on loan despite the advice of Reds boss Jurgen Klopp to go out and get fit before he can return to action for the Anfield outfit sounded hyperbolic, the German manager laid down a firm marker over the Frenchman’s future when speaking to the press ahead of their meeting with Leicester City at the weekend.
“We have to make Mama fit now. In the situation in the open transfer phase, you have to prepare decisions – you have to make decisions and you have to prepare [for] the situation after the window closes,” explained the Liverpool manager when asked about the popular defender. “Not only with Mama, but that’s what I did with the players – with all of them. I told them what I thought what would be the best. Now the squad is like it is and at this moment, it’s about making Mama fit, which he isn’t – that’s how it is after this long time with suspension and injury,” continued Klopp. “Then we will see what happens and I have no idea what will happen when because it is about who plays how, who performs how, how good are our results – all that stuff. At the end, Mama knows and I know from my side [so] that’s enough.”
Out of action since April after failing — and subsequently being cleared of any wrong doing — a drugs test, Sakho picked up an achilles injury over the summer and was sent home from the club’s pre-season tour of North America after a number of “disciplinary breaches” saw him run afoul of Klopp. While this was easy fodder to report on a breakdown in their relationship, this situation was exacerbated when it emerged that the club wanted him to go out on loan for the season to regain his fitness and match sharpness. Moves to West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City were rejected as the 26-year old chose instead to fight for his place at the club, and though the Reds boss has insisted there’s no trust issues between the two of them, he admitted he’ll find it hard going this season.
“He couldn’t play football for a long time and that’s how it is. Then it makes sense after the long break if you think about how can you get match time? It’s difficult here – I have to say hopefully difficult because the other players are fit and hopefully stay fit,” mused Klopp, going on to hint that the door is not closed on him returning this year. “You have to speak about this before the window closes because that’s the moment you can make decisions and that’s what I did. I’m not silly enough to forget good performances or things like this, but in the end we will see – we will see what happens.”