Is Sakho worth the hassle?

Mamadou Sakho has endured a turbulent time at Liverpool F.C. since joining in September of 2013. He has been involved in everything from stadium walkouts to failed drugs tests and most recently, being sent home early from the pre-season schedule in the U.S.A. Many Liverpool fans view Sakho as a leader and rock in the heart of the back line, while others view him as nothing more than a liability. The truth is probably somewhere between the 2. He is undoubtedly talented, but are the on-field performances worth the off-field drama?

Mamadou’s first real act of controversy was during the Merseyside derby in 2014. After being left out of the matchday squad, he chose to leave the stadium instead of staying to support his teammates. He was duly spotted by supporters and many wrote him of as the type of player that is only concerned with what is best for himself. He subsequently apologized to supporters on Twitter.

In a more recent act of controversy, one that sparks fury from Reds supporters, Mama was investigated and suspended for doping; or more specifically taking a fat burning substance that was believed to be prohibited. While most of us don’t really know or understand the full story, it is fair to say that Sakho takes little or no blame for this as he has been cleared of all charges. While some may argue that he should have been more responsible with his intake of supplements, it has been suggested that Sakho did seek guidance and believed that he was not doing anything to jeopardize himself.

The most recent, and possible the most damning of all the off-field incidents is also the most recent. Sakho was sent away from the rest of the Liverpool squad during their preseason tour of the U.S.A. Klopp has moved to inform fans that the reason for Sakho’s early departure was due to him being late for the initial flight to the U.S.A. (which was seen in humourous fashion during Mamadou’s GoPro tour of Alcatraz), a training session and a meal. In the wake of suggestions that Sakho’s Liverpool career was over , Juergen Klopp has told the media that this is “just how football works” and that it is “not the biggest thing.” He suggested that that Sakho would not face any further punishment and that it would all the resolved with a “talk” between manager and player. This incident clear portrays Sakho’s apparent lack of discipline. It may be suggested that tardiness is not a serious offence, but it is certainly not one you would expect from a senior player, especially one so often looked at as a potential captain.

What about the good in Mamadou Sakho? While most superstars tend to spend their time and money on yachts and Lamborghinis, Sakho has shown that he has the welfare of people in his heart. He often spends time helping the less fortunate, and even spent most of his summer break in the Ivory Coast helping Juvenile Prisoners. He has come to have an affection for Liverpool and it’s people; referring to himself as a “Liverpool Soldier” and a “Scouser” in an interview with James Carroll. While all of his misdemeanors may paint a bad picture, the good that Sakho does convincingly proves otherwise. He is a truly spectacular human being.

Being a good person does not make you a good footballer. For all that Sakho does off the field, whether good or bad, he will ultimately be judged by his performances out on the pitch. While it cannot be denied that Sakho comes across as a very unorthodox and uncomfortable due to his lanky gait, it would be unfair to suggest that he is a bad player. Initially struggling to impose himself on the Liverpool first team after his £18 Million move from PSG during the reign of Brendan Rodgers, he has gone some way to proving that he is the best Centre Back at the club.
He made 33 appearances last season, second only to another Standout performer Dejan Lovern on 39 appearances. Statically Sakho made less, or the same, interceptions and less clearances than Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren.* He has however bested made over 100 more successful passes than Skrtel and about 200 more than Lovren. Sakho won 60.11% of his duels last season while Skrtel and Lovren won 56.95% and 58.67% respectively. This illustrates that Sakho is a better “front foot” defender than Skrtel and Lovren. However he has made more blocks than Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren which shows that he is happy to do the last ditch work too. While Sakho’s Cruyff turns and backheels often leave fans with hearts’ in their mouths’ he has become a calming influence in the back line along with Lovren. He is a leader on the pitch and is always seen celebrating with his teammates.
So does his footballing ability make his off-field antics worthwhile? I would argue that his problems are overshadowed by his footballing ability. His off-field discrepancies are not serious enough or regular enough to warrant any backlash from fans. He is not currently ready to be captain of Liverpool, as many have suggested, but if he were to rule out his penchant for the controversial he is someone that could be a great leader for our great club.

Source: Mamadou Sakho – Is he worth the hassle? – Anfield Nation Anfield Nation


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26 thoughts on “Is Sakho worth the hassle?”

  1. Not the question to be asking right now anyway. Give another season, see how he performs in the coming one. We got rid of Skrtel and Toure. Now the onus will be on Lovren and Sakho to show whether they can retain their spot. Does he have the patience, maturity and level headedness to accept being on the bench and to work in order to get to the first team? Based on whats happened in the past, this could be a problem but let’s see.

    None of our center backs apart from Kolo have really been consistent enough. On ability Sakho can be right up there.

  2. Sakho’s performance > Sakho’s headaches. Mostly because his headaches are fairly modest. That equation could change though. He’s not so massively talented that you’d put up with a lot more trouble. Let’s hope his shenanigans don’t start writing checks that his talent can’t cash.

  3. I know it is still early days for Klavan, but I have to say that when we bring in, from a much smaller club, a defender that no one had really connected us with and that everyone is assuming we simply bought for cover, and then that defender starts to look like he might be as good as any on our roster, that doesn’t say a lot about our other defenders.

    1. Or maybe it says a lot about Klavan that he’s exceeding everyone else’s expectations? We already know that our center backs haven’t been good enough over the last few years. If they were we’d likely have a better record defensively.

  4. When is finds consistency he is one of the best in the league. But again consistency is a big feat to achieve. I really like him as a player/ person but won’t mind if we replace him with someone bloody good.

  5. When is finds consistency he is one of the best in the league. But again consistency is a big feat to achieve. I really like him as a player but won’t mind if we replace him with someone bloody good.

  6. He is worth persevering with in my opinion. We have been lacking defensive leadership since Carra retired, I actually think he can help us there. I do believe he has his heart in the right place.

  7. LFC captain should be stable professional, true fighter,no scandals outside of pitch and no or minimal social media interaction.Preferably with plain hairdo, no fancy stuff like Balo,Pogba etc.Milner comes to mind if he’s in Klopp’s plans as first team player.I don’t have nothing against Hendo too, just needs to show more balls and get his hands dirty like he did with Costa.I would be embarassed if Sakho would represent Liverpool Football Club, he’s just another version of Balotelli.Big child who likes attention

  8. The ridiculous cult of personality going on with Sakho is laughable. Loses his head against Lukaku in a crucial moment of a heated derby? well done Sakho! Fecks Klopp around and disrespects the team? naughty mama slap on the wrist! powts and salutes ‘liverpool country’? give him the armband! Anyone who thinks he has made our defense significantly better than it has been before him has their Sakho glasses on. He is an inconsistent, injury prone player who is probably just about up to the standard we want. In my opinion Lovren has consistently outperformed him. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him 3rd/4th choice CB and sold next summer.

    1. Losing heads happens to all. Lovren against Southampton, Skrtel lost it four years ago and still can’t find it, Stevie in his last game against the scum.

      Great defender and one to have around at all times. Whether he can fight himself into the starting XI we’ll see but that’s only good, competition.

      1. Great is not what he is. Good sometimes is what he is. Not the losing his head I took special exception to, it was fans praising him for it

        1. Because we want ronder passion, lads rolling their sleeves up, having a go.

          If not banned he’d be a starter for France. You’re not “good” when you’re that.

          1. So much is made of that. It means way less than you think it does. If he was THAT much of a starter in France team he would of been picked again when his ban was lifted. He was able to play in the euros but wasn’t selected.

  9. Sakho is worth it, for me.

    Having said that, given his history, I don’t think he’d make a good captain. I’m also not convinced he is “Liverpool’s best defender” as many have claimed, though to be fair there has been a rather low bar set for this title in the past. For me, these kinds of things are indicative of Sakho’s cult status and fan sentiment more so than an honest look at reality.

    Perhaps my biggest concern about Sakho, however, has been his inability to stay healthy for an extended period of time. Any player that spends more games on the training table than on the pitch is going to have questions asked. I fervently hope that Sakho will put those injury concerns behind him this season, but things haven’t gotten off to the best start in that regard.

  10. Walkout is long forgotten, he was cleared of doping and he’s been put back in line by Klopp.
    Doesn’t hassle me so yes he’s worth it.

  11. The bloke is clearly a personality, and clearly he needs to be doing something… I think in hindsight, taking an injured player on tour was always going to create issues.. The bloke must have been bored out of his mind… Lesson learnt, move on, and hope to see Mama back fit and starting soon.

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