Quick links

Liverpool

Why it's time for Mamadou Sakho to replace Dejan Lovren in Liverpool's defence

Paisley Gateway

It's time for Brendan Rodgers to admit defeat over Dejan Lovren and recall Mamadou Sakho in the Croatian's place.

Sakho was signed on transfer deadline day back in 2013 from Paris Saint-Germain for around £18m, according to the BBC, and despite playing his part in a side that finished just behind eventual champions Manchester City in his debut season, manager Rodgers decided to strengthen his back-line further with the big-money addition of Lovren less than a year later.

The general consensus was that Lovren would be the new rock at the heart of the Reds' backline, and the Croatia international was brought in with a view to improving a porous defence that had shipped 50 goals the campaign before.

It is widely reported that Sakho's arrival was decided by the vaunted Transfer Committee, as covered in the Liverpool Echo, whilst Lovren's signing was solely down to Rodgers, and after something of a nightmare maiden year at Anfield, the ex-Saints centre-back was afforded a chance to atone by starting every Premier League game so far, with Sakho forced to watch on from the bench.

The Reds kept three consecutive clean sheets at the beginning of the season but, after a bright start, Lovren has begun to slip back into the kind of form that became the norm during his poor first year on Merseyside, with the five-time European Cup winners shipping six goals in their last two games.

The ex-Lyon man seems to suffer from wildly fluctuating levels of confidence, and a misplaced sense of hubris is quick to give way to crushing nadirs on a seemingly regular basis.

For instance, the dismal 3-0 defeat to West Ham United before the international break provided a perfect snapshot of varying mental states Lovren undergoes when on a football pitch.

Lovren had to be consoled by his defensive partner Martin Skrtel after a blundering error led to the Hammers' second goal at Anfield, but then the 26-year-old backed his own ability to try and make amends with efforts from 30 yards and attempted borderline comical step-overs that saw him lose the ball on the half-way line.

Rodgers has steadfastly stuck by his big-money signing, but it is time to admit defeat, and Sakho's assured performance against Bordeaux in Thursday's 1-1 draw in the Europa League will have given the Northern Irishman plenty of food for thought.

The gangly 25-year-old is not the most aesthetically pleasing with the ball at his feet, but there can be no denying that the France international is a dependable centre-back, and while Emre Can earned praise for his adaptation to a three-man defence last season, the lack of praise for less stylish Sakho alongside him was hugely unfair on the former Paris Saint-Germain captain.

After all, it was Sakho's return to the side back in December last season that coincided with a 13-game unbeaten streak run for Rodgers' Reds.

Speaking after the draw against Bordeaux, in quotes carried by the Echo, Rodgers said: "Sakho was immense at the back. He knows he has had to be patient and his attitude has been first class.

“He has trained very well, kept professional, done his extra work on his fitness and he has got his rewards for that. He certainly comes into the reckoning for the weekend (against Norwich).”

It's time for Rodgers to back up that claim and keep faith with Sakho.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch