7 Apr 2015

Lawro raves: £18m LFC star has 'improved' beyond 'recognition', especially 'with his passing'

Liverpool defender Mamdou Sakho is one of the Reds' most consistent performers this season, and according to Reds legend Mark Lawrenson, the France international is one of the club's most improved players this year.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo this week, Lawro bemoaned the loss of Skrtel, but praised Sakho for his improved performances. He enthused:

"He [Skrtel] has been top drawer [but] the whole defence has grown in that time, with Sakho [Cost: £18m] having improved almost out of recognition, especially with his passing".

Lawro is spot-on about Sakho's passing:

* 90.2% passing accuracy (all competitions)
* Second-best accuracy in the entire squad.
* Only Skrtel (91%) has better passing accuracy.

Sakho is positive with the ball, and always tries to pass it forward, but that's been the case ever since he arrived. Now, his defensive solidity is reaching the same level of consistency, and that's a good thing for Liverpool.

Sakho is still, however, prone to awkwardness on the ball; that's not a cliche, or an exaggeration (as some fans attest); it's fact, and there have been several moments in recent games (against Man United, for exampe), where he played others into trouble and/or caused a mini-panic in defence with suspect positioning/misplaced passes.

On the whole, however, Sakho is defensively solid this season, and he's really benefited from having a consistent run of games, and operating in a settled defensive unit.

There is a problem on the horizon, though. What happens if/when Rodgers decides to revert to a flat back-four? Skrtel is a certain starter, which means Lovren (or a new centre-back to be signed this summer), Sakho, and (possibly) Can fighting for the second centre-back spot.

Liverpool's current system accommodates three centre-backs, but reverting to a back-four will inevitably mean someone will end up frustrated on the sidelines for an extended period of time. Right now, Lovren is the fall-guy, but he'll get his chance eventually, and if he plays well, he could conceivably keep Sakho out of the team.

based on current form, Skrtel-Sakho is Liverpool's number one defensive partnership in a back-four, and if Rodgers does decide to revert, he needs to pick a partnership and then stick with it as much as possible. If that means one of either Lovren or Sakho ends up warming the bench, then that's the way it has to be.

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40 comments:

  1. Nevergonnacrackthecode8:58 pm, April 07, 2015

    Ranking lfc best players:


    1) Sturridge
    2) Coutinho
    3) Sakho
    4) Sterling
    5) Gerrard
    6) Balotelli
    7) Emre Can
    8) Skrtel
    9) Henderson
    10) Lallana

    in terms of current skillset

    we have to see more of Ibe

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  2. Nevergonnacrackthecode9:01 pm, April 07, 2015

    Sakho is a legend, best defender since Hyypia .

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  3. Why is balotelli on that list of liverpools best players? He has rarely played and when he has he has been disgraceful!

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  4. Better than Carragher?

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  5. Surely he has to give Skrtel/Sakho a run given the form of both this season. I can see Rodgers selling Lovren if he got a decent offer for him but I doubt he will get one.

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  6. You are crazy sturridge has been awful since his return also sterling has been very much below par.
    Balotelli is the worst player I have ever seen in the red shirt total waste of space.

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  7. Have to post this again, I just love the guy

    https://youtu.be/wMm5PsvShco

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  8. Yep.. Love Carra, but yes..

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  9. Personally i find any claims that Skrtel is a good defender unbelievable. Yes he is better suited to the back 3, as he is expected to be a bit further back and thereby doesn't unsettle the whole lineup as much as he do in a back four - by constantly dropping deepp or getting out of position. Furthermore there is now two players to cover his mistakes and because he is slightly further back and have to work as a kind of sweeper, he doesn't get temped as often as he usually do - to go all-in in a needless challange. Skrtel is a good ballwinner but not a good defender. Try to rewatch a game and focus only on Skrtel. Look at the amount of times he is dragged out of position leaving space behind him - which the other defenders need to fill and thereby getting out of position themselfes - unbalancing the whole team in the process. Look out for the amount of times he is dropping deep, forcing the rest of the defense to drop deep too or leave attackers onside. Look how many times he ignore to give out obvious and vital instructions to his teammates. Look out for his poor vertical adjustments and the gaps it leaves between either him and the right back or his center back partner(s).
    The most important attributes for a defender is stuff like anticipation, positioning, organizational skills, game intelligence you name it - which Skrtel have neither off.

    So for me he is by no means a certain starter - actually i'd say he'd be the last one i'd think about playing if i where in charge. Unluckily i am not :-)

    Actually i would go as far as to say that there is no such thing as a certain starter. I know it doesn't work that way in reality - but Rodgers seems to have his favourites and that is never a good thing. Players should be getting games based on nothing but physical condition, ability, performances in matches and training and functionality in the team.

    Whether Rodgers like the player or not, their reputation, pricetag, likability etc shouldn't come into the equation.

    So the whole argument about there only being one spot for the likes of Sakho, Lovren, Can and Kolo is wasted on me. There is certainly two spots to fight for.

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  10. He is improving but still way off being anything special - remember the Premier League is a joke in Europe this year - laughing stock and the crazy bosses here still pay telephone number salaries ha ha - Henderson and Sterling would not even be missed GET REAL BOYS

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  11. What?? For real?? Carragher was a top top defender for many years.sakho has been very good the last few months but to call sakho better is borderline slanderous! !! Maybe when he's had a few very good seasons we can revisit this conversation:)

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  12. Sakho- Skrtel obviously. Lovren now knows he has to improve a lot to make the starting 11 and he has enough on his contract not to give us headache. It is a great situation, not a trouble on horizon..

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  13. It's simply opinion not fact.

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  14. I fully agree, believe it or not. But it is a case of seeing a world beater in making for me- if I saw Maldini at the age of 20, I would've said he is the best cb ever and wait for it to come true, you know what I mean?

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  15. Sturidge at number one =- your having a laugh mate - HE NEVER PLAYS MORE THAN 2 GAMES - THEN INJURED

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  16. I hope more than half on the list below never play for us again

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  17. I like sakho a lot and I hope he's gona be as good as you think.carra was one awesome defender tho...

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  18. Agree about balotelli. He's taken over from djimi traore for me!

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  19. I suppose you're right. ..

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  20. I dunno though, if we're talking shit Liverpool players, how about (from memory):
    -----------------------Kirkland



    Josemi------Pellegrino------Traore------Konchesky



    Nunez------Poulsen-------Aquilani----Cheyrou



    -----------------Dundee-----Diouf

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  21. Yep. Agree there bud.

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  22. Do you even like football?

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  23. Steady on orme, on the basis of half a good season?

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  24. Hard to believe they played for us.maybe I was being too hard on djimi. He did score that breathtaking back heel:)

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  25. Nope, the first time he kicked the ball for us..

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  26. More like near two good seasons. He was good from day....well day two.

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  27. Sakhos stats for this year and last in that order according to OPTA (so may just be league)
    Played 15 18
    Passes 862 921
    Accuracy 89.6% 92.4%
    Acc opposition

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  28. https://youtu.be/e8DDdQ8PJms https://youtu.be/e8DDdQ8PJms

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  29. Sakhos stats for this year and last in that order according to OPTA (so may just be league)
    Played 15 18
    Passes 862 921
    Accuracy 89.6% 92.4%
    Acc opposition half 85.2% 86.6%
    Duels won % 59.7% 58.8%
    Arial duels 53.9% 56.5%
    Recoveries 114 118
    Tackles % 70.4% 92.6%
    Interceptions 25 27


    So as you can see in all elements Sakho is nearly the same other than o
    in tackle success % where he was much better last year. So to claim he has improved markedly in any of these areas is erroneous.

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  30. Possibly the best part of the game from our perspective.

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  31. Stats don't tell the full story.he was prone to quite a few individual errors which he seems to have cut out of his game of late. .

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  32. That isn't true either. Made less errors than any of our other defenders. Non that led to a goal.

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  33. If you saw Maldini at age 20, you'd have seen him playing at left-back.

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  34. I know. As I wrote it I knew it, but I thought that nobody will notice..

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  35. Well I watched him play and he gave a lot of hospital passes (maybe they didn't all lead to goals),he looked clumsy on the ball and he has improved a huge amount the last few months.stats are a guideline on a player maybe but never tell you everything.why bother scouting players at all.lets just pull up their stats sheet and go by that alone! !

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  36. Looking clumsy o the ball and being clumsy are two very different tings which I thought Sakho had proved by now. These "hospital passes" are something all our players do. He is courageous on the ball and his stats show that the turnout is not an issue.
    The stats are just used to show part of the picture. All I have personally seen different in Sakho this year is that he is more vocal and his relationship with other defenders, Skrtel in particular seems stronger. His own game has not changed.

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  37. Well I disagree.i see a much more confident player who looks to get an intelligent ball forward at every opportunity where as last year (even though I thought he showed a lot of potential) looked more awkward and unsure of himself defensively and offensively.

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  38. He always passed forward. Honestly I have been saying this since last year.

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  39. And just because he made less errors than our other defenders doesn't justify it seeing as our defence was a complete shambles!

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  40. When he wasn't passing across the goal?

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