There has been a lot of talk about Mamadou Sakho – the up-beat, jolly Frenchman. It is fair to say he has had his fair share of up’s and down’s.
There was the time when Brendan Rogers left him out of the squad in the Merseyside Derby and departed Anfield before the game had started, before making an apology via social media.
Then there was the doping fiasco where UEFA accused him of failing a drugs test – via use of fat burners – which resulted in the player missing the Europa League final clash and the entire Euro 2016 tournament. UEFA have of course since dropped their case against Sakho.
The latest episode involved Sakho being sent packing from LFC’s pre-season tour of the United States by manager Jurgen Klopp, due to his ‘attitude’. A video doing the rounds on social media showed Sakho interrupting an interview taking place between Klopp and the media in Alcatraz, in which the manager responded in a seemingly jokey, yet sarcastic manner. It is only on reflection and with all details emerged that it is evident to see he was making a clear point.
Klopp has now confirmed the reason for Sakho’s premature departure was due to a ‘lack of respect’ for the club rules.
The German manager said:
“It’s not that serious. He missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and then was late for a meal … I have to build a group here, I have to start anew, so I thought it maybe made sense that he flew home to Liverpool and after eight days, when we come back, we can talk about it.
“But it’s not that serious. It is how I said, we have some rules and we have to respect them. If somebody doesn’t respect it, or somebody gives me the feeling he is not respecting it, then I have to react, that’s all.”
With the facts out in the open, it is clear to see that this was the right course of action for Klopp to take. He is trying to marry together a squad of existing players, new players, youth players and prepare them for the season ahead, ensuring they’re in peak condition. Therefore anybody who creates disharmony should rightly be dismissed.
I like to see a manager who is stern yet fair, demanding yet fun and will – regardless of a player’s status – make decisions for the greater good of the team, demonstrating exactly who is boss.
Every player in the camp will have sat-up and taken notice at this decision. If players had any doubts about who is in charge, they certainly won’t now.