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Thread: Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace)

  1. #1 Default Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace) 
    Larissa Karius is online now First team regular
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    Mamadou Sakho played his 3rd consecutive game for Palace today and its another clean sheet.

    Prior to Sakho coming in, Palace had failed to keep a clean sheet in 30 games.

    Does he deserve to be back in the fold in pre-season? Surely, he has served his time for his misdemeanors with the Under-23s and now Palace.
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  2. #2  
    Larissa Karius is online now First team regular
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    https://www.theguardian.com/football...P=share_btn_tw


    It was the kind of challenge that reflects a mind-set. A ‘head down and tackle anything that moves’ approach from a player making up for lost time. The only problem for Mamadou Sakho was that rather than an opponent, it was the referee Mike Jones who ended up sprawling over his lunge, via a shove from West Bromwich Albion’s Jake Livermore. The crowd guffawed yet Sakho barely acknowledged the official’s tumble, his stare instead fixed on the loose ball as Luka Milivojevic shepherded it away. Then he was up and off, eager for his next involvement.

    The scene was The Hawthorns almost a fortnight ago, with Crystal Palace defending a narrow lead and their French loanee rejoicing in the ferocity of battle. His performance that afternoon, refusing to wilt in his duels with Salomón Rondón, was inspirational, that of a man adamant his team would not be breached, and all the more remarkable given it was only his second first-team outing since April.

    Friday marks an anniversary, though not one Sakho will cherish. It is a year since a routine drug test after a fine draw at Old Trafford, a result which secured the passage of Jürgen Klopp’s side into a Europa League quarter-final and effectively sparked the end of his Liverpool career.

    So much since has been traumatic. He has been banned then reprieved, deprived of a place at Euro 2016 in his home country, exiled by his club, and finally cast aside to a team whose sole aim is to ward off the considerable threat of relegation. “The lift he has given us defensively has been exceptionally good,” said Sam Allardyce, who took Sakho to Palace and will build his backline around him against Watford on Saturday. “He has settled into the environment here extremely well and worked hard to get himself fit. Now he is showing what a good defender he is.”

    But as much as the 27-year-old is at ease alongside compatriots in Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Flamini, Loïc Rémy and Steve Mandanda, or friends such as Christian Benteke, the script he had envisaged has been torn up. None of this is how it was supposed to be.

    Some of the setbacks suffered over the past year have been self-inflicted, but they all stem from that drug test. The urine sample, scrutinised at a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Cologne, tested positive for Higenamine, an anti-asthmatic which can also be used as a fat burner. Sakho never denied taking the pill and after liaising with Liverpool voluntarily made himself unavailable while his legal team, led by Mike Morgan, a specialist in this field, determined how to proceed. His last appearance was as a goalscorer in a 4-0 victory over Everton. Less than a week earlier he had plundered his side’s equaliser in that jaw-dropping comeback against Borussia Dortmund.

    The timing of his absence was dismal. Sakho had become a stalwart of this team, his partnership with Dejan Lovren suddenly blossoming and his status among the support raised. If there was frustration the player had opted to take a product that had not been prescribed by Liverpool’s medical staff – evidence of an individualism that does not always sit easily with Klopp, but also of fitness concerns which had occasionally surfaced at his first club, Paris Saint-Germain – then the management were still incandescent to have lost him.

    They recognised the team were weaker in his absence. The provisional 30-day ban imposed by Uefa on 28 April eventually ruled him out of the last eight games of the season, including the Europa League final in Basel where his influence might have been decisive. Sevilla prevailed after a dominant second half. Sakho, meanwhile, was preparing to take on the authorities.

    His defence, which would eventually prove successful, had hinged upon Morgan demonstrating to Uefa’s satisfaction that the science that could reasonably lead Wada to class Higenamine as a banned substance – as a beta2-agonist – was not robust. But by the time Uefa had cleared Sakho of wrongdoing, and ordered its own investigation into whether the substance should be banned, he had missed the run-in, Basel and selection for Didier Deschamps France squad at Euro 2016. “Everything he had been doing had been geared towards representing his country in a home tournament,” said Sakho’s wife, Majda, in an interview last month. “Personally, I went through so many emotions: shock, bewilderment, frustration as well. And anger.”

    Sakho’s lawyer is still exploring the possibility of legal action, most likely against Wada, which chose not to appeal against Uefa’s decision to absolve his client, and the player has only briefly addressed the disappointment around the ban. “Whatever I go on to do in my career, it cannot replace what I missed out on with Liverpool and France,” he had said at the end of January in an appearance on Canal Football Club. “I had wanted so much to wear France’s colours in a tournament taking place on home soil. Seeing my dreams snatched away from me three weeks from being realised … that was hard. But I knew I wasn’t a cheat.”

    He spent time in Senegal and Ivory Coast during the tournament, plunging himself into work for his charity, AMSAK, whose initiatives address education to healthcare and water sanitation in impoverished communities. He visited a juvenile prison, and a school for deaf and dumb students, in Abidjan. He would later take deprived families from Liverpool on a trip to Disneyland Paris. But he could not cut himself off entirely from the tournament where he should have been adding to his 28 caps. “We saw him at the team hotel before one of the games, and it was as if he was our No1 fan,” said Noël le Graët, the president of the French Football Federation. “He was hurting so badly not to be involved, but he still wished the team luck. That shows the class of the man.”

    The ramifications of the ban lingered beyond the summer. Even with a live-in personal trainer who had apparently put him through his paces three times a day, the club were distinctly unimpressed by Sakho’s fitness levels upon his return to Melwood in July. The focus is regularly drawn to him interrupting Klopp in an interview with Liverpool’s in-house TV channel while on a visit to Alcatraz in pre-season as evidence of indiscipline, but the manager could see the funny side of that exchange. What infuriated him more was Sakho’s tardiness in reporting to the training ground on the day the team had flown to the United States. When he subsequently missed a morning session with a fitness coach, as well as a team meal, he was sanctioned and sent back to Merseyside. His apology fell on deaf ears.

    Klopp demands total professionalism in training and preparation, and evidence of an eagerness to improve. It is not as if he craves a side of automatons. Indeed, he has dealt well with the behaviour of other mavericks, most notably this year after Roberto Firmino’s drink-driving charge. Yet the Brazilian’s commitment in training, or industry in matches, is rarely in doubt. Players have to graft under the German and as soon as standards drop, so does the axe. Those pre-season errors of judgment, even in a player still coming to terms with how the glorious denouement to his best campaign for Liverpool had been so cruelly snatched away, counted against him. There was an achilles injury to endure and, in the autumn, the bitterness was exposed with a series of exasperated messages posted on Snapchat in the small hours of 24 September. Klopp saw Sakho’s outburst – an insistence he had been fit for three weeks and the fans “deserve to know the truth” – as a betrayal of the team ethic as if designed to heap pressure on his replacement, Ragnar Klavan, when the side confronted Hull later that day.

    It effectively cast him back into the wilderness for over four months. There were outings for Michael Beales’ under-23s, occasions which “allowed me to gain some rhythm from playing again, and to pass on my experience to the younger players”. But a player contracted until 2020 clearly had no future at Liverpool and having rejected loan offers in the summer, he was more receptive in January. So after Southampton dithered and Lyon turned up their nose, Palace were the beneficiaries, agreeing to cover the player’s wage package and a hefty loan fee in the region of £2m.

    Inevitably, he did not arrive match fit. There was concern for a while that pushing him too hard might ping a hamstring, and successive defeats were endured with Sakho on the bench. Yet once thrown into the fray, he excelled. His two outings, against a shot-shy Middlesbrough and an awkward West Brom, were won without a goal shipped. To put that into context, Palace had kept two clean sheets in their previous 30 Premier League games. That rather haphazard style, forever bordering on clumsiness, is deceptive. There is an agility to Sakho’s game, and those instincts to block, tackle or stifle in the penalty area are as sharp as ever. For all Klopp’s attempts at deflection, his excellent form has not gone unnoticed back on Merseyside, where the suspicion remains that Liverpool are missing their most naturally gifted defender.

    Palace’s newfound stinginess is not down to the Frenchman alone – the efforts of Milivojevic and the fact Allardyce’s tactical demands are finally sinking in have also been key – but he has been the poster boy for the mini-revival. “He’s a rock, so solid and at the same time, so composed,” said Wilfried Zaha. “If you make the movement he’ll make an angle for you and find you with his pass. That’s massive for us. We’re way more solid now. We’ve gone back to basics and if you do those right, the rest will follow.”

    The team have inherited that same leader who made his mark in PSG’s junior ranks, the kid from Barbès in the 18e arrondissement who captained Paul Le Guen’s first team at 17. But he is eager to prove himself all over again, rebuilding that reputation. Although Sakho may not be used to struggling at the foot of the division, the fighter in him will relish the scraps ahead. He would regularly whip up the dressing room at Liverpool pre-match, a player going to war. It was why he was recognised as a big-game player, the kind who would raise his performance for the most daunting of contests. Palace, with collisions with the top six among their remaining 11 games and only a point above the bottom three, needed a figure around whom they could rally. “Mama is already a big part of what we are trying to achieve here,” said Allardyce.

    If he succeeds in hauling them to safety, a player who still has his best years ahead will have proved his class and other clubs will be interested. This is his chance to show his pedigree is intact, and that miserable year is behind him.
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  3. #3  
    Larissa Karius is online now First team regular
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    Mamadou Sakho hasn't conceded a goal in his last 366 minutes of action in the Premier League. Liverpool have conceded 6 in that time.
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larissa Karius View Post
    Mamadou Sakho played his 3rd consecutive game for Palace today and its another clean sheet.

    Prior to Sakho coming in, Palace had failed to keep a clean sheet in 30 games.

    Does he deserve to be back in the fold in pre-season? Surely, he has served his time for his misdemeanors with the Under-23s and now Palace.
    No
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    Good luck to him in his future endeavours and hopefully a decent chunk of money for Klopp to spend in the summer to sign a consistent, never-injured beast of a partner for Matip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larissa Karius View Post
    Mamadou Sakho played his 3rd consecutive game for Palace today and its another clean sheet.

    Prior to Sakho coming in, Palace had failed to keep a clean sheet in 30 games.

    Does he deserve to be back in the fold in pre-season? Surely, he has served his time for his misdemeanors with the Under-23s and now Palace.
    Yes, bring him back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larissa Karius View Post
    Mamadou Sakho played his 3rd consecutive game for Palace today and its another clean sheet.

    Prior to Sakho coming in, Palace had failed to keep a clean sheet in 30 games.

    Does he deserve to be back in the fold in pre-season? Surely, he has served his time for his misdemeanors with the Under-23s and now Palace.
    Let's move on and improve on him. I can't be bothered with an ill-disciplined, injury prone, error prone player.
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  8. #8  
    KoppityKloppity is online now Academy prospect
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    Its nothing to do with what level a player he is, Klopp loved him when he first came in.

    Whatever happened, no one really knows everything I expect what went on behind the scenes to cause this situation.

    Can it be repaired? only Klopp and Sakho can decide this.
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  9. #9  
    aylesbyred is online now Boot Room insider
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    God not this again....
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    It's simple in my view.

    - He has done wrong in terms of his behaviour

    - He is a far better defender than Lucas or Klavan. He was immense prior to his ban


    He is not a world beater and makes mistakes but in football terms we need him

    On a personal not, Klopp overreacted I think. A ban of 10 days would have been enough but putting into the reserves if you look at some of our dispays. Wrong decision. Of course, I don't know the full story but I'm still entitled to my opinion
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  11. #11  
    NY Mike is online now First team regular
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    Only 3 games of course but interesting to keep an eye on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NY Mike View Post
    Only 3 games of course but interesting to keep an eye on.
    Have you and Larius considered that he is a product of Big Sam's system?
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    Glad he's finally found his level
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emaxx2 View Post
    Have you and Larius considered that he is a product of Big Sam's system?
    Easier to defend when you're in a 6-3-1 system.
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    Top player.

    Wish he was still in our first team.
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Monk- View Post
    Easier to defend when you're in a 6-3-1 system.
    Exactly.I wouldn't want any of West brom or Burnley defenders here
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    He is doing better but after 3years of rather lacklustre performances what he does at Crystal Palace is irrelevant to us.
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    Meh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emaxx2 View Post
    No
    Why on earth not? Is he a worse defender than Klavan? Is he really worse than Lovren? Is Matip honestly any better than him? I dare not mention Lucas...

    If we had Japp Stam, Sol Campbell and John Terry all in their peak right now then there wouldn't be any discussion. We don't. All we have is ignorant belligerence

    Good for us!
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    If he performs well for the whole rest of the season I'm sure he will be considered but most likely he will be sold for good money
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe-El View Post
    Why on earth not? Is he a worse defender than Klavan? Is he really worse than Lovren? Is Matip honestly any better than him? I dare not mention Lucas...

    If we had Japp Stam, Sol Campbell and John Terry all in their peak right now then there wouldn't be any discussion. We don't. All we have is ignorant belligerence

    Good for us!
    He's not better than Matip.
    He's on a similar level to Lovren.
    He's better than klavan and Lucas.

    Why don't we attempt to get a better quality defender as opposed to a liability in Sakho?
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  22. #22  
    Larissa Karius is online now First team regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Monk- View Post
    He's not better than Matip.
    He's on a similar level to Lovren.
    He's better than klavan and Lucas.

    Why don't we attempt to get a better quality defender as opposed to a liability in Sakho?
    If we bring in someone like Kostas Manolas or Kalidou Koulibaly then I have no qualms with Sakho being moved on.

    I'm just curious who comes in and whether he is good enough to oust Lovren from the first team - as that is what essentially is needed.
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    I'd rather use the Sakho money and buy a world class defender.
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  24. #24  
    Snippes is online now First team regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by KoppityKloppity View Post
    Its nothing to do with what level a player he is, Klopp loved him when he first came in.

    Whatever happened, no one really knows everything I expect what went on behind the scenes to cause this situation.

    Can it be repaired? only Klopp and Sakho can decide this.
    All of this.

    I don't understand the vitriol towards Sakho all of a sudden. As you say, Klopp loved him when he first arrived. He didn't just become crap over the summer - it is clear the issue is between Klopp and Sakho and only those 2 know what, how, if to repair. If they don't kiss and make up or they do, it doesn't change from the fact that we will need to go CB shopping this summer.

    In the meantime, him playing well for the rest of the season should be seen as a win-win for Liverpool because it can only help his sell-on price if Klopp decides there's no way back for him like I suspect he will. We should fetch a decent return on him this summer either from this league or somewhere else especially if he continues in this form. Good luck to him wherever he ends up.
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  25. #25  
    foreverred-1973 is online now 100% Concentrated
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beige View Post
    Good luck to him in his future endeavours and hopefully a decent chunk of money for Klopp to spend in the summer to sign a consistent, never-injured beast of a partner for Matip.
    Do you have someone on the shopping list?
    Thank God I'm an Atheist!
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  26. #26  
    spider-neil is online now Academy prospect
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Monk- View Post
    He's not better than Matip.
    He's on a similar level to Lovren.
    He's better than klavan and Lucas.

    Why don't we attempt to get a better quality defender as opposed to a liability in Sakho?
    He's way better than Lovren.
    And Sakho is only a liability when he is rushed back from injury.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcfcRED View Post
    I'd rather use the Sakho money and buy a world class defender.
    Yeah, cause there's loads of them available at the moment
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcfcRED View Post
    I'd rather use the Sakho money and buy a world class defender.
    Like we can attract 'a world class defender'.
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  29. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larissa Karius View Post
    Mamadou Sakho played his 3rd consecutive game for Palace today and its another clean sheet.

    Prior to Sakho coming in, Palace had failed to keep a clean sheet in 30 games.

    Does he deserve to be back in the fold in pre-season? Surely, he has served his time for his misdemeanors with the Under-23s and now Palace.
    Judging him on his 3 years at LFC he doesn't 'deserve' anything. He was average at best while playing at LFC, he did zero to alleviate LFC's defensive problems.
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  30. #30  
    Ganymede is online now Prefers one thread per page
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    Causation vs correlation.
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