Liverpool centre-back Mamadou Sakho is set to finally learn whether he will be charged for failing a drug test in March.
The 26-year-old tested positive for a suspected fat-burning drug following the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Manchester United in the Europa League, and was initially suspended for 30 days in April.
This suspension expired with Sakho no more in the clear, though a remarkable U-turn towards the end of May saw UEFA opt against extending his spell on the sidelines.
The European football governing body were unable to clarify whether the substance in Sakho’s system should have even been on their banned list, and at Thursday’s hearing the Frenchman’s defence will point to this in their reasoning.
To be held in Paris, UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary board will hear from representatives from the club and the player, before deciding whether to hand Sakho a lengthy ban.
In theory, Sakho could still face at least six months out of action, though the Telegraph report that deliberation over his innocence is a “source of optimism.”
Sakho has rejoined pre-season training at Melwood this month, with it being his request that his hearing take place before Liverpool’s friendly fixtures kick off.
If cleared, Sakho could be available for Friday’s clash away to Tranmere Rovers, set to take place at Prenton Park, while the former Paris Saint-Germain captain will have his sights set on a place in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad for the Reds’ US tour.
If banned, however, the German is likely to turn to the transfer market to draft in a replacement.