Former Liverpool employee Michael Beale, who was in charge of our Under-23 side at the beginning of the season, has waxed lyrical about Mamadou Sakho’s professionalism and ability.
Beale now works for Sao Paulo in Brazil, but has given plenty of interviews about his time on Merseyside since he departed.
Sakho is of course on loan at Crystal Palace, failing to impress the manager who told him to leave at the start of the season anyway…
Our ex-coach is sad about the Sakho situation, having used the Frenchman multiple times in the Under-23s in the first half of this campaign before he left. After Jurgen Klopp froze Sakho out of first-team consideration, the 27-year-old played with the youth team – a serious downgrade for somebody who’s captained PSG and his national side…
Beale reckons the player would have won us the Europa League if he was available and has intimated that Klopp has made a mistake.
“It is a shame what happened at Liverpool,” Beale told Sky Sports. “Both parties have lost. Sakho is playing for a club that I think he is too good to play for.
“Everyone is looking for a left-footed centre half. If it is to be that he leaves Liverpool, he won’t be short of offers. He will likely move on.
“It will be sad if there cannot be some form of reconciliation, because I think Liverpool still need him. Jurgen felt he could go with other players.
“If Sakho was able to play against Sevilla in the Europa League final, Liverpool would have won. I am sure of that.
“That would have changed the whole course of things at Liverpool; they would have been in the Champions League, extra revenue, attract better players etc. Maybe Klopp cannot forget that. I don’t know the ins and outs.”
“When he first came to us at the Under-23s, I didn’t really know what happened with the manager. I didn’t want to know, and I said to him that as long as he respected me and the Under-23 players and staff then we wouldn’t have a problem. He went well beyond that.
“From that day onwards he was getting changed in a Portakabin. He was never, ever late, and he worked his socks off. He could not have been a better professional. You are seeing the results of that work now at Palace.
“Although we had some good players in that group – Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold – he was playing in front of 1,000 people, and was the target for everyone, being so famous. His attitude was outstanding. I have never seen anything like it.
“We built a really good relationship, and he texted me when he joined Palace, obviously pleased to have made the move.”
Sakho’s proving with Palace that he’s a top defender. He was often injured for Liverpool but in big games, he was consistently superb – combining immense physicality with clever reading of the game.
At this stage though, we really don’t think there’s any way back for him. We have to respect Klopp’s judgement, although there’s a big part of us that hopes, like Beale, that Sakho finds a way back..