It took Mamadou Sakho five matches of waiting patiently, but he’s certainly taken his chance in the Liverpool first-team since belatedly earning a spot in Brendan Rodgers’ XI.
The Frenchman was Man of the Match in the Europa League draw with Bordeaux on Thursday, and was arguably the best Red versus Norwich at Anfield yesterday, too.
He’s been exceptional in the air, strong in the tackle and passed the ball well, leaving many supporters scratching their heads as to why he wasn’t in the team at the start of the campaign.
Brendan Rodgers, who made the decision to leave him out for Dejan Lovren at the beginning of the term, was quick to praise the 25-year-old centre-back’s contributions.
“He was excellent in the week. The thing with Mama has been about keeping him fit and making sure he is at a peak level of fitness to play the games,” said the boss, reported in the Echo.
“That was always something that was a concern but he’s worked very, very hard on that aspect of his game and I think he’s come back into the team in the week and today and was excellent.”
It’s difficult to know whether Rodgers should be congratulated for bringing Sakho back in, or castigated for leaving him out in the first place. In fairness to the manager, it’s got the reaction he wanted – thanks to Sakho’s superb professionalism.
He’ll surely keep his spot in the Premier League side now, with Dejan Lovren a possibility for a recall in the League Cup fixture against Carlisle on Wednesday.