|Date of Birth||
13 February 1990
|Place of Birth||
Mamadou Sakho (born 13 February 1990) is a French international footballer who played as a defender for Liverpool F.C. from 2013 to 2017.
After the 2012-13 season, legendary Liverpool centre back Jamie Carragher retired from football whilst fellow defenders Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates fell out of favour with manager Brendan Rodgers. Speculation was rife that Liverpool would seek to sign a number of centre backs to take their place in the 2013 summer transfer window. After an early deal was completed to sign Kolo Toure, Liverpool moved to sign highly-rated centre backs Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho in the last few days of the transfer window.
After Sakho, along with Ilori and fellow new recruit Victor Moses were spotted at Anfield watching the 1-0 win over Manchester United on 1 September 2013, the deals for the trio were announced the following day. Sakho was recruited from his hometown club Paris St. Germain for a fee of around £15,000,000. He came with a reputation as one of the most exciting young centre backs in Europe, however his development had stalled at PSG due to the excessive competition for places there brought on by the French club’s financial wealth. Sakho took squad number 17 at Liverpool, last worn by Argentine forward Maxi Rodriguez.
Sakho made his debut for Liverpool on 16 September 2013, starting the match away to Swansea in place of the injured Daniel Agger. Despite an uncertain start to the game in which he was perceived to have been at fault for allowing Jonjo Shelvey in on goal to open the scoring for the Swans, Sakho was generally complimented for a strong display in the match.
On 7 December 2013, Sakho scored his first goal for Liverpool in a 4-1 win over West Ham. He got a touch on a Steven Gerrard free-kick and the ball looped high and over the line. There was controversy as to whether either West Ham defender James Collins or Martin Skrtel applied the finishing touch, however the goal was credited to Sakho. After a succession of impressive performances, Sakho suffered a hamstring injury on 29 December 2013 in Liverpool's 2-1 away defeat to Chelsea.
The injury kept Sakho sidelined for over two months, with the defender making his return as an injury-time substitute in Liverpool's 6-3 away win over Cardiff on 22 March 2014. He made his first start since his injury on 6 April 2014, playing the duration of Liverpool's 2-1 away win at West Ham.
In the summer of 2014, Brendan Rodgers strengthened his defensive options with the purchase of Southampton's Dejan Lovren. Lovren started the 2014-15 season above Sakho in the pecking order as partner to Skrtel, however an injury to Skrtel in Liverpool's second game of the season brought Sakho back into the fold, with him making his first appearance of the new season on 31 August 2014 in the 3-0 away victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
On 27 September 2014, Sakho was omitted from the matchday squad for Liverpool's home tie against Everton, in the Merseyside Derby. Sakho was seen leaving the ground before the game begun. He later took to Twitter to apologise for his actions. Sakho was then left behind in Liverpool as the squad flew to Switzerland for their midweek tie against FC Basel in the Champions League- although Brendan Rodgers claimed this was due to a "slight strain." This inevitably drew speculation about Sakho's future at the club however, with Brendan Rodgers evidently preferring a defensive partnership of Lovren and Skrtel.
Sakho's first appearance following his injury lay-off came on 17 December 2014, as he came on at half time in place of the injured Lovren in Liverpool's 3-1 away win over Bournemouth in the League Cup. A large section of the Liverpool fans had been very keen to see Sakho brought back into the fold sooner, with Lovren's performances attracting heavy criticism. After a string of good performances in a back three, Brendan Rodgers praised Sakho in the new year for having taken his chance in the team well.
On 27 January 2015, Sakho was substituted with an injury as Liverpool were edged out of the League Cup semi final by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with the expectation that Sakho would remain sidelined for a short period of time. This however did not prove to be the case, and Sakho lined up in Liverpool's next game- a home tie with West Ham on 31 January 2015 which the Reds won 2-0.
On 14 February 2015, in Liverpool's FA Cup victory away to Crystal Palace, Sakho suffered what looked to be a head and/or chest injury in a collision with Yannick Bolasie. Although the injury only forced Sakho off the pitch momentarily, the travelling Liverpool fans could be heard vociferously chanting his name whilst he was receiving treatment- something they did again later in the match, indicating Sakho's new status as a fan favourite.
Sakho started the first pre-season game of 2015-16, and scored a rare goal, with a header from a corner in a 4-0 win over the Thailand Premier League XI. Despite this, Dejan Lovren was preferred to the Frenchman for the opening five league games. This led to speculation over Sakho's future at the club, but Brendan Rodgers stated his desire for Sakho to stay at the club, and said that he wished for him to sign a new contract.
On 17 September 2015, Sakho made his first appearance of the season, and was made captain in a 1-1 draw at Bordeaux. The next day, it was confirmed that the Frenchman had signed a new contract, keeping him at the club until 2020. Sakho kept his place in the starting lineup for the next league game, at home to Norwich, and was one of the bright points in a disappointing 1-1 draw with the Canaries.
After the arrival of Jurgen Klopp, Sakho became an undisputed member of the starting XI, starting in the German's opening four league games. On 8 November 2015, Sakho fell awkwardly on his leg in a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, which left him ruled out for a period. To soften the blow, Sakho was named the Liverpool FC Player of the Month for October 2015. He made his return on 20 December, starting in a 3-0 defeat at Watford, and put in a poor performance, along with the rest of the team.
On 17 March 2016, Sakho put in a man of the match performance in a 1-1 draw at Manchester United, almost single handedly marshalling the Liverpool defense, as they progressed to the quarter-finals of the Europa League. In the second leg of the quarter-finals, Sakho scored just his second goal for Liverpool, to equalise against Borussia Dortmund at 3-3, after being 2-0 down. The Reds went on to win the game through Sakho's defensive partner, Dejan Lovren. Less than a week later, Sakho doubled Liverpool's lead in the 226th Merseyside Derby, heading home from James Milner's cross.
On 23 April 2016, it was announced that Sakho was under UEFA investigation after the Frenchman allegedly failed a drugs test after the 1-1 draw with Manchester United in March. The club agreed that Sakho would not play for the club while under investigation. Five days later, Sakho tested positive for the use of a fat burner, resulting in a 30 day suspension. This ruled him out of the 2016 Europa League Final, and a place in the French squad for the European Championships, which were held in his home country.
The ban expired on 28 May, and it was reported that the fat burner that Sakho used was not actually a banned substance. Nevertheless, there were several hearings throughout the summer, before the Frenchman was cleared of all charges on 8 July 2016.
On 18 July 2016, it was confirmed that Sakho would wear the number 3 shirt for the 2016-17 season, which was recently vacated by Jose Enrique. However, after a reported bust-up with Jurgen Klopp, Sakho was relegated to the U23s squad, and was told that there was no place for him at the club. Sakho however, refused to leave the club on loan.
After featuring only for the U23s, on 1 February 2017, Sakho was sent out on loan to Crystal Palace for the rest of the campaign. Sakho impressed at a Palace side that played very well to escape relegation, and a lot of reports stated that they would return to try and sign Sakho permanently in the summer.
On 1 September 2017, it was confirmed that Palace had signed Sakho on a three year deal for a reported fee of £26,000,000. Sakho spent four years at Liverpool, making 80 appearances, and scoring 3 goals.
- Standard Chartered Player of the Month: 1 (October 2015)
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