According to today’s L’Équipe, Liverpool central defender Mamadou Sakho’s relationship with manager Jürgen Klopp has gone past the point of no return and the French international will be forced to leave the club during the January transfer window.
It all began on the Liverpool pre-season tour in the United States, when Sakho was sent home prematurely by Klopp. He turned up late for several meetings, including for the initial airplane voyage from Britain to the States. Klopp loved Sakho up until this point, his passion, his larger than life personality.
However, last summer, Klopp was disgusted by Sakho’s unprofessional attitude and decided to make an example of him. Sakho’s entourage claims that Klopp had already made his mind up before the US tour incident on the French international, when Sakho was wrongly accused of doping using a fat burning product, which forced Klopp to sign two central defenders in Joël Matip and Ragnar Klavan in case Sakho was to receive a longer ban from UEFA.
Klopp wanted Sakho to accept a loan move at the end of the summer transfer window, notably to Stoke, for a bit of breathing space and giving Sakho the chance to win back his place at Liverpool. But Sakho refused. One thing is for sure, Klopp has utter autonomy in terms of decision-making at Liverpool and this has not worked in Sakho’s favour.
Since the summer, the German manager, like a child, has refused any attempt by the Sakho camp for grown-up discussions that would have allowed the pair to rebuild their relationship.
But the Klopp-Sakho relationship came to a definitive ending on the 24th September after a series of late night Snapchat My Stories were posted by the French international central defender.
Just a few days before Sakho’s Snapchat rant, Klopp appeared to leave the door open to him about a possible return: “He needs to find playing time rhythm again. That is it. He is working on it. He is not far away. He is working for that. It is not a question of how he feels, but a question of how I feel he is.”
But seeing that he was excluded from the reserves, the same week that Klopp claimed he was lacking in match practice, Sakho lost the plot and took to Snapchat.
“For three weeks I have been training again and I am ready to play, but they do not want me to play for the reserves. I do not want to speak more about it, I only want to let my work on the pitch do the talking. But I will speak about it soon, for the people who support me and do not understand my situation. I accept my situation, but I will not accept lies. The fans deserve to know the truth.”
Two days later, Klopp warns his players against social media and has the following to say on Sakho:
“One should not express oneself against the club like that. It is not a rule against Mamadou Sakho, it is rule for every player. I spoke to “Mama”, we discussed things and there you have it. For me, it is sorted, now we move on to something else. I have nothing else to say.”
It is quite clear that in the eyes of Jürgen Klopp, Mamadou Sakho no longer exists.
The situation is untenable: Sakho is currently training with the Liverpool U23s and continues his charitable work: he recently took disadvantaged children from Liverpool to Disneyland Paris with his charity AMSAK.
In January, he will be gone, almost certainly on a permanent deal, to a Premier League club or elsewhere, but certainly not to Lille.
Sakho & Liverpool, the end.