Just six months ago, Mamadou Sakho thumped home a header to provide the platform for one of those famous European nights at Anfield; a scarcely believable 4-3 win at home to Borussia Dortmund.
Flash forwards to the present day, and Mamadou Sakho is starring at the back in a tense draw against North West rivals Manchester United. Though not in the way he, or any Liverpool fan who watched him progress from an erratic, mistake-a-minute liability into a roaring, soaring leader, would have anticipated.
24 hours after Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip combined to nullify the cumulative threats of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on ‘Red Monday’ in front of a sell-out Anfield crowd, Sakho was throwing himself characteristically into tackles in front of 3000 at the Leigh Sports Village for Michael Beale’s Under-23s.
It’s been quite the fall for a player who took so long to prove his worth on Merseyside. The drugs test debacle that robbed him of a place in the Europa League final and France’s Euro 2016 squad on home soil preceded a very public falling out with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who advised Sakho to leave on loan after being sent home from the club’s pre-season training camp. The former PSG prodigy refused; a decision that looks increasingly mistaken.
Now, with Lovren improving by the game, Matip finding his feet, Joe Gomez returning from injury, and Ragnar Klavan and Lucas offering stable alternatives, a route back into the first-team appears blocked at every avenue for the fans favourite. Though at least he’s kept them onside.
Would love to see Sakho force his way back into the first team. Unfortunately, I can't see it happening. Future seems to lie elsewhere.— - (@_lfcleanne) October 19, 2016
There will be someone out there that would want Klopp gone for Sakho to stay. https://t.co/D4CQcXg5uc— Graeme Kelly (@GraemeKelly1) October 19, 2016
Can't understand for the life of me why he ripped into Sakho/ruled him out while praising Ings/saying he'll play bc of one U23 game https://t.co/L85uIiiRHw— AK (@PrometheusX1Z) October 19, 2016
Will likely see Gomez and Sakho forming a solid cb pairing playing for u23's to get some match fitness— Andy (@AndyTheRed83) October 19, 2016
Would've loved for Sakho to get back into the first team but it's looking more and more unlikely https://t.co/MJzw4yK8AN— LFC (@LFCNewsLive96) October 19, 2016