Is £18m Liverpool star’s future in jeopardy after weekend antics?

Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho's current role in the Reds' squad is the subject of multiple question marks.

When Mamadou Sakho was brought to Merseyside, the hope was that the £18 million signing from Paris Saint-Germain would help stabilise a shaky Liverpool defence.

Slightly over a year later and fair reflection would suggest that hasn’t been the case. Now, moreover, Reds fans have had to bear witness to a centre-back storming out of Anfield before a clash against arch rivals Everton because he was not selected in the matchday 18, before later apologising for his actions.

Did Sakho, though, have a right to be angry?

  TeamPosTackles Won / appInterceptions Won / appEffective Clearances / appAerial Duels Won / appPassing AccuracyAppsMins
Kolo Touré Liverpool DF 1.40 0.75 7.30 2.15 86.42 20 1,439
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 1.39 1.50 7.56 2.67 92.51 18 1,480
Daniel Agger Liverpool DF 1.00 1.05 5.65 2.25 89.07 20 1,420
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 1.00 1.67 11.39 3.58 90.80 36 3,222

As Opta stats show, the 24-year-old only made 18 Premier League appearances last season, less than both Kolo Toure and Daniel Agger. That was partly due to fitness concerns but also an overwhelming level of competition for places within Liverpool’s defence.

Defensively, Sakho was outshone in most areas by Martin Skrtel but won more tackles per game and had a superior passing accuracy. Importantly, Sakho also fared better statistically than both Toure and Agger.

The Frenchman, then, may have felt Agger’s summer exit cleared the way for him in terms of a place in the starting XI. By then, however, Dejan Lovren had already signed for £20 million – and has now more or less made himself first choice within boss Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI.

So much so that Sakho was left out of the matchday squad – and not just starting line-up – during Saturday’s Merseyside derby. And that was the source of his frustration. But does he really have anything to complain about?

  TeamPosTackles Won / appInterceptions Won / appEffective Clearances / appAerial Duels Won / appPassing AccuracyAppsMins
Dejan Lovren Liverpool DF 1.67 2.17 9.17 4.00 86.82 6 540
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 0.50 2.25 11.25 3.75 91.74 4 360
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 0.33 1.00 4.67 3.67 89.77 3 248

As stats for this season show, Sakho comes off worse than both Lovren and Skrtel in every single key area, except for having a better passing accuracy than the former.

It is those statistics that justify Rodgers’ decision not to select the 24-year-old against Everton, while Toure’s selection ahead of him on the bench was a reflection of his performance against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup earlier that week.

So, based on the facts, Sakho certainly had no right to feel cheated or aggrieved enough to leave Anfield before the Merseyside derby began. Yes, any professional player should be naturally disappointed to miss out on a place in their side and, yes, his apology may have drawn a line under the matter for good.

But the Frenchman should be wary of picking a fight with Rodgers.

"His reaction is not something we expect from one of our players. We've spoken, he's apologised and we'll move on from it," the Liverpool manager told reporters ahead of tonight's clash with FC Basel.

As the case of the aforementioned Agger shows, falling out with the boss could mean a question mark over your future. Especially when your displays don’t back your side of the argument.

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