10 Nov 2015

Klopp: I'd rather see Liverpool get thrashed than lose 'spectacular' £18m star. Madness?

After a series of imperious performances, Mamadou Sakho has developed into an important player for Liverpool this season, and he's quickly becoming a cornerstone of Jurgen Klopp's new look Liverpool team. Sakho picked up an unfortunate injury during Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, and according to Klopp, losing Sakho is even worse than losing the game.

When asked about 'spectacular' Sakho during his post-match press conference, Klopp told reporters:

"That [Sakho's injury] was the worst thing tonight. I’d prefer to lose 4-1 and keep him in the team".

High praise indeed, and it suggests that Sakho is a key part of Klopp's plans for the foreseeable future.

Sakho's run in the team has temporarily come to an end, though, but there's some good news this evening about the extent of his injury. According to the Liverpool Echo:

* Sakho 'has been told' that he hasn't suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

* A scan on Monday afternoon showed some 'damage to the joint in his right knee'.

* Sakho is scheduled to see a consultant on Tuesday, who will 'diagnose the full extent of the injury'.

Sakho's injury is a shame, but it's hardly surprising. Like so many other Liverpool players, he is injury prone. Since signing for Liverpool in 2013:

* 5 separate injuries (including the current knee issue).

* The other 4 injuries: 2 thigh injuries; 1 hip injury, and one hamstring injury.

* 200 days out in just over two years as a Liverpool player (41 games missed).

* Averages only 24 games a season.

Sakho is a quality defender, but it's impossible to build a stable defensive unit around a player who is regularly injured. Fans get on Skrtel's case, but he is fit most of the time, which a huge benefit for a central defender.

Now, the door is open for Dejan Lovren to stake his claim, and if the Croatian cuts out the mistakes, and performs consistently well, then Sakho may have a hard job getting back into the team.

Players should be in the team on merit, and if Liverpool's defence performs well without Sakho, then there's no point changing it just to accommodate the Frenchman when he returns.

I can appreciate Sakho's performances, but in my view, he's currently being overrated by fans. As we've seen this season, aerial duels are one of his key weakness, and his failure to win headers in the box has already cost Liverpool a couple of goals this season.

As such, I find it amusing to hear some fans claim that Liverpool wouldn't have conceded the headed Crystal Palace goal if Sakho was on the field, and I reject the notion that the Reds lost the game because Sakho went off.

Guess what: Liverpool also concede goals with Sakho in the team (11 goals in 11 games this season; 32 in 27 last season), but listening to some fans, you'd think he's some kind of impenetrable powerhouse who makes the team impossible to score against.

And for the record: losing Sakho is (IMO) preferable to seeing Liverpool lose a game 4-1. Klopp is entitled to his view, but it basically amounts to prioritising the *individual* over the *team*, and that's not what Liverpool (or any team) is about.

Author: Jaimie K


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