Liverpool star named among six underrated Premier League centre-backs

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Is he Brendan Rodgers’ best defender?

Liverpool have certainly improved at the back since the turn of the year. Many onlookers have credited our run of 12 clean sheets in 23 games to the rapid turnaround in fortunes of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet… but not everyone.

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Football opinion website Squawka have instead lavished praise on another Liverpool player who struggled with form and fitness during the first-half of the season. In fact, he only played five times before mid-December.

Mamadou Sakho is of course the man in question. The Frenchman still might not look the most comfortably in possession but anyone that watches the Reds on a regular basis will have noted that it’s not something which transfers to his overall ability.

The 25-year-old has become an increasingly important cog in Brendan Rodgers’ system, initially as the left-sided element of our three-man defence and more recently as the senior replacement for the suspended Martin Skrtel.

His latest injury has come at unfortunate time for a player who will have surely revelled at playing alongside the Slovakian, with Rodgers now back in favour of a more traditional back four.

However, that’s not stopped Squawka from complimenting his progress. They make note of both his high passing success rate – suggesting he’s the most adept at being the ball-playing centre-half Rodgers desires – and his continued selection in the French national team, ahead of the likes of Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny.

The other five candidates on their list are Manchester United’s Chris Smalling, Burnley’s Jason Shackell, Crystal Palace’s Scott Dann, Swansea City’s Ashley Williams and Southampton’s Toby Alderweireld.

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