Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has hinted that defender Mamadou Sakho still has a future at the club, despite being sent home from the Reds’ US tour.
If you work in the media, like we do, then the past few days have been nothing short of contentious following Klopp’s decision to send Sakho back to Merseyside for breaching team rules. Fans have joined experts in debating whether or not the centre-back will ever pull on the famous red shirt again and Klopp was sure to have that same question posed at him in his post-match interviews, following Liverpool’s 1-0 friendly defeat at the hands of Chelsea on Thursday. When the question did come, Klopp answered it by explaining he will resolve the matter after his side’s tour.
“He missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and then was late for a meal,” Klopp said, according to Liverpool Echo.
“I have to build a group here, I have to start anew, so I thought it maybe made sense that he flew home to Liverpool and after eight days, when we come back, we can talk about it.
“But it’s not that serious. It is how I said: we have some rules and we have to respect them. If somebody doesn’t respect it, or somebody gives me the feeling he is not respecting it, then I have to react, that’s all.”
Sakho hasn’t featured in any of the club’s pre-season games after suffering an Achilles injury, which will see him miss the start of Liverpool’s new Premier League campaign. The Frenchman was initially added to the squad traveling to America in order to boost his teammates mentally and because Klopp understands the importance of building a good bond within his team.
However, as the German boss said, there are rules the team has to adhere to and as Sakho learned, consequences for anyone who doesn’t co-operate. This is perhaps the first time that Reds fans get to see the disciplinarian side of the former Borussia Dortmund boss and his decision to take retrospective action with his French centre-back is sure to send a safe warning to the rest of his squad. Players will now know – if it slipped their minds – that there’s a time to get serious for work and a time to get silly and play under Klopp and it’ll only help to strengthen the team spirit ahead of the new season.
Whilst Sakho is still out, Liverpool’s other available centre-back, Ragnar Klavan, will look to keep up the pressure on first choice defenders Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren. However, if the manager’s words are to be believed, it probably won’t be too long before the club’s new number 3 is back challenging for a place in the starting eleven.