Analysing Mamadou Sakho's 2015/16 form - is a loan move right for him?
It’s not been a great year for Mamadou Sakho. From being named Liverpool captain for a Europa League trip to Bordeaux by Brendan Rodgers, then establishing himself as one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheet, Sakho suffered a suspension for doping, which proved to be unfounded, a string of nasty injuries, sent home from the clubs US tour and now he looks set to be binned by the German manager as the club look to send him out on loan, claim the Liverpool Echo.
Jurgen Klopp refused to deny the rumours after a 5-0 EFL Cup victory over Championship side Burton Albion, saying:
“I’m happy that I don’t talk in situations like this. Everybody who needs to be informed about this has been informed about this. There are no secrets with the important people, I would say.”
With initial reports suggesting that Sunderland have turned down an offer to take the Frenchman on loan, despite having John O’Shea out injured, Younes Kaboul sold and Lamine Kone set to complete a move to Everton, it is worth taking a look back at the 26-year-old’s form last season to see whether or not he deserves a loan move.
Having started all but four of Jurgen Klopp’s matches in charge last season when available for selection, Sakho was one of the first choices alongside Dejan Lovren, and kept five cleansheets in the Premier League and helped his side towards the Europa League final with a vital goal against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final.
For a while, it seemed like the Frenchman had finally eliminated the errors and lapses in concentration from his game, allowing his strength and dominance in the air to show just how good a player he can be and reach the potential expected of him when he captained PSG at just 21-years-old. Sakho was superb for much of the second half of last season, excelling under the tutelage of Klopp and clearly benefitting from his manager’s belief in his abilities.
With a tackle success ratio of 83% in the Premier League, compared to 69% for Dejan Lovren and 80% for Joe Gomez of the remaining centre-backs who were at the club last season, it’s clear to see why Sakho was such an important figure. Then, Joel Matip, who had an 86% ratio, was signed on a free transfer, and Ragnar Klavan, who matched Sakho’s 83%, signed.
Sakho’s cause has not been helped by the arrivals of Matip and Klavan, alongside the imminent return from injury of Joe Gomez and decision of Lucas Leiva to stay at the club. Meaning that with six central defenders soon to be on offer to Klopp, Sakho may struggle to get the game time required to rebuild his fitness levels having been out of action since the 4-0 Merseyside Derby victory in April.
For Klopp though, it seems that his performances have not been the problem. Sakho’s behaviour on the club’s US tour, missing his flight, being late to team meals and skipping training, is what has put his place in most doubt. Now that the central defender is returning from injury, having spent much of the summer out of action with knee and Achilles injuries, it seems that the club are keen for him to go out on loan to get game time.
With the likes of Klavan and Matip lining up alongside Dejan Lovren in central defence, there is no shortage of options for Klopp. Sakho may well have a good record and his stats may aid his case, but his behaviour off the field is costing him. A loan move would help Sakho to prove himself and prove that not just his performances, but his attitude, is up to scratch. There is no doubt that Sakho has the quality to be an important player for Liverpool, but he may have to prove it.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by MekyCM.
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