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Mamadou Sakho's Liverpool debut - It could have been worse

Liverpool's new £15m centre-back was thrown in at the deep end at the Liberty Stadium.

Mamadou Sakho was thrown into the deep end as Liverpool drew 2-2 with Swansea City last night.

The £15m signing from Paris Saint Germain start at centre-back in an unfamiliar back line for Liverpool, with Martin Skrtel as his partner at the heart of the defence.

It’s fair to say that he didn’t have the debut that he would have liked to have had. Being exposed early on as Jonjo Shelvey glided past him on his way to giving Swansea an early lead is not the best start to have at your new club.

However, if you watch it back, there was a degree of awareness shown by Sakho as he knew there was a chance of a card coming if he were to foul Shelvey, perhaps he was a tad afraid of getting his marching orders with less than three minutes of the game played.

There is also the aspect that he likes to step out, which was one of the reasons Shelvey was able to capitalise on a bit of space to set up Michu to level the game up, and he seems to be a fan of diving into a challenge.

It isn’t the worst debut that anyone could have had. Sakho only needs to ask his centre-back partner for the evening in Martin Skrtel, who needlessly conceded a corner that led to a goal, and scored an own goal against Havant & Waterlooville in an FA Cup 4th round tie in 2008.

Were there positives to take from Sakho’s performance? Yes. He seemed to win many of his aerial battles and has been identified as a threat from Liverpool’s own set-pieces.

For most of the game he looked comfortable in possession, apart from late on in the game when he lost the ball to Michu, only for him to reclaim it with a terrific challenge. One thing that does look uncomfortable is that he isn’t afraid to try what some would regard as a 'party piece' across his own penalty area to find another red shirt.

It is easy to have concerns about a new signing but what must be remembered in this case is that he had never played a competitive game with his new teammates, and that he was playing in a makeshift back line.

Like all new signings, Sakho should be given time to find his feet in the side. He could have done a lot worse.

image: © psgmag.net

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