Why Liverpool defender must start the Merseyside derby on Saturday.

Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho may be on the bench on Saturday but here is why he should start against Everton.

Mamadou Sakho has had a terrific week and Brendan Rodgers should cap it off by handing the Frenchman a starting place for the Merseyside derby at the weekend.

This isn’t for the goalscoring prowess that he demonstrated for France against Ukraine as his brace helped his country overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit at the Stade de France, but more to do with his style of defending.

It is all down to the threat the opponent possesses in Romelu Lukaku. Last season, Lukaku bullied Liverpool when he played for West Brom both at the Hawthorns and when he came on as a late substitute at Anfield.

Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger had no answer to the towering Belgian.

What Liverpool will need against Everton on Saturday is someone who can compete with Lukaku for strength, who could possibly leave a mark on the powerful forward. Sakho is strong in the air, and if you believe what his teammates have to say, he leaves a mark on them after a training session.

For all the attributes that Agger has as a defender, he will struggle to match Lukaku for strength, like a lot of defenders, but Sakho is much stronger.

Not only that, but if Sakho were to come in the way Liverpool play isn’t overly disrupted because he is very comfortable on the ball – something which Agger gets a lot of praise for, and strong in the tackle.

Whether Rodgers will want to drop Agger for this game after he returned to a side that kept a clean sheet last time out is doubtful, but he’d be silly not to consider that he has a player who can deal with the very real threat that the Blues have up front.

There will be those that say ‘let’s worry about us and not the opposition’ but that would be a very careless attitude to take into such a huge game.

image: © psgmag.net

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