Jamie Carragher’s attention to Mamadou Sakho was alerted to him by former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier in a charity match last year.
Liverpool made Sakho one of their eight summer signings, completing a big money move from French Champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Carragher says he played along side the then 22-year old Sakho in a charity match organised by Houllier in Corsica.
“How did it go?” Carragher said in the Liverpool Echo “Well we won 2-1! I talked him through it and he was fine.
“But I remember on the flight home Gerard Houllier having a really good word with him, even though he wasn’t his manager, saying what he needed to do to improve.
“I thought that was typical Gerard, always attention to detail!
“It wasn’t even his player and he was trying to improve him. He later said to me, ‘He’s going to be a player, him’.”
The imposing 6ft 1inch defender will now compete with the likes of Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure and fellow new signing Tiago Ilori for a place in Liverpool’s defence.
He is also capable of playing left-back, with Jose Enrique and Aly Cissokho Brendan Rodgers’ other options in that department.
Carragher, now working as a pundit for Sky Sports, says it will be interesting to see where Rodgers put Sakho in his team with so much high quality competition for places.
“He’s left-sided and there’s competition for places everywhere now. Cissokho’s been brought in to put pressure on Enrique, Skrtel’s done really well in the Manchester United game, while Toure’s been a revelation. In the first three games he was superb so we’ll be looking to get him back against Swansea.
“Competition’s what you want, but of course you don’t want your best players on the bench.
“I think the manager just has to juggle it round a little bit now and use the best two. The young lad Thiago Ilori will be one for the future I think, maybe next season, but the sort of money that has been spent on Sakho would suggest he is going to be a starter.”