It’s such a shame that it’s come this. Few Liverpool players in recent years have connected with the fans and been as popular as Mamadou Sakho, with his enormous character on and off the pitch ensuring him cult status in an age where players feel increasingly disconnected from supporters.
The 26-year-old’s Reds career is set to end on a sour note, however, with his exit now inevitable rather than probable.
The Frenchman’s antics in 2016 have left a lot to be desired, and as each new misdemeanour has passed, Jurgen Klopp has lost more and more faith in his centre-back.
The failed drugs test after the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford in March was hugely avoidable, but he was eventually cleared and had a great opportunity to learn from this error of judgement.
Instead, his behaviour has became more and more erratic.
He arrived late for the flight to the United States in July, immaturely interrupted a Klopp interview out there and generally failed to conduct himself in the manner expected of an international footballer.
Because of it, Klopp sent Sakho home early from the tour. It was the first sign that their relationship was deteriorating at a rapid rate.
While Sakho made an effort to improve on his return to the UK, the final straw was delivered on the day of Liverpool’s clash with Hull City at Anfield on 24th September.
In the early hours of that Saturday morning, Sakho took to social media platform Snapchat to reveal his frustrations at not playing.
“Now it’s 3 weeks since I am fit to play games. I finish all my rehabilitation work. They don’t want me to play also with second team lol! Why I don’t know,” he claimed.
Klopp may come across as the most friendly, laid-back manager on the planet at times, but he has a ruthless side that you don’t want to cross.
Sakho did exactly that one time too many with this outburst, and to do it on the day of a match will have sent Klopp into a blind rage.
I have no doubt that that was the point at which the Liverpool manager decided the Frenchman would never represent the club again.
In fairness, Sakho has played well for the U23s and clearly made an effort to win over Klopp, but the damage has been done.
Quite where the former Paris Saint-Germain captain will end up remains to be seen, but it will be a step down from Liverpool, that’s for sure.
Ignoring his popularity as a person for one second, which has admittedly dipped since the summer, the saddest element of this whole episode is that Sakho is a really good footballer.
He will, of course, forever be labelled as “clumsy” by those who don’t watch him closely enough, but he is a colossal centre-back when he wants to be.
Strong, powerful, good on the ball, an expert reader of the game and a leader, Sakho has it all, and with all due respect to the ever-improving Dejan Lovren, he could have formed a superb centre-back partnership with Joel Matip.
At 26, his best years may still lie ahead of him, but the issue he now faces is that the top sides in Europe may avoid him like the plague.
When you play for a club of Liverpool’s stature, your every move is scrutinised, and a little like Mario Balotelli, Sakho will have turned off many potential suitors.
Barring some sort of miracle, in which Sakho does something like saving Klopp and his entire family from a burning house, the defender’s time on Merseyside is up.
It is sad to see, especially after he had established himself as a key player last season, but we need every single player pulling in the same direction under Klopp.
When push comes to shove, Liverpool supporters are only going to side with one man, and his name isn’t Mamadou.
It is entirely Sakho’s own doing, and if he doesn’t change his ways very soon, his career will end up being one of regret and underachievement.
Written by @HenryJackson87