Liverpool sign French star Sakho – but will he get into the team?

Daniel Agger

The Anfield side have announced that the highly rated central defender is joining the club but he is by no means guaranteed a place in the side.

Liverpool’s progressive summer in the transfer market has continued on transfer deadline day with the defensive additions of Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Illori. From a defence that was looking devoid of strength in depth at centre-half after Jamie Carragher’s retirement, the Merseysiders now have a raft of quality players vying for a place in Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI.

Sakho’s acquisition is quite the coup for the Reds, with the 23-year-old adjudged to be one of the brightest prospects in French football. He has been a victim of Paris Saint-Germain’s expansive spending spree over the last 12 months, and fell behind Brazilian duo Alex and Thiago Silva in the pecking order at the Parc des Princes. However, Sakho still is an international calibre footballer with an impressive range of physical attributes to suit Premier League football, and can only get better.

Sakho has been widely linked to a host of other European clubs, with even the likes of Barcelona accredited with a fleeting interest earlier in the summer. If he can adjust quickly to his new surrounds he has the potential to be a real star for the Reds, but his first challenge may well be getting into the Liverpool team.

The Reds have had a solid start to the season without setting the world on fire, but sit pretty on top of the Premier League table with three wins from three games, including a victory over champions Manchester United on Sunday. The Merseysiders are also yet to concede a goal, which has a lot to do with strong performances from their central defenders.

Daniel Agger continues to be a mainstay in the Liverpool team when available and despite the new signings of Sakho and Ilori, will most likely command one of the two starting berths. Martin Skrtel has been injured but returned to action yesterday against United and gained applause for his marking of Robin van Persie.

Kolo Toure was signed in the summer and started his time at Anfield well, with two strong Premier League performances suggesting that he was getting back to better form before picking up a knock. With Toure, Skrtel, Agger and now Sakho and Ilori to pick from, it will be really interesting to see who gets the nod from Rodgers when they are all available.

One would presume that Ilori will be on the outskirts of the first team for big games – the 20-year-old looks like a prodigious talent but still has development to do before he is at the level of the others. Skrtel was being linked with a move to Napoli earlier in the summer, but with less than 12 hours remaining in the window, the Slovakian looks likely to stay.

On paper a partnership of Agger and Sakho looks like a winning combination – the Dane’s confidence on the ball coupled with the new man’s physicality. Despite this, both players are left-footed, which is a situation that does not happen often in the current game.

The French defender has all the attributes to bolster an already strong Liverpool rearguard but has work to do to break into a team that is looking much more solid than in recent memory.

image: © kong niffe

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