Following a positive result to his recent UEFA hearing, Mamadou Sakho aimed his sights on a return to the Liverpool squad.
Sakho faced the UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary board in Paris on Thursday, and was subsequently cleared of a potential drug ban on Friday night.
The 25-year-old faced charges after testing positive for a suspected fat-burning drug, and missed the business end of the 2015/16 campaign.
Sakho’s initial suspension also saw the centre-back miss out of the France squad for this summer’s European Championship, with his home nation reaching Sunday’s final against Portugal.
After months of deliberation and an eventual dismissal, Sakho can feel aggrieved for what is a major disruption in his blossoming career both on Merseyside and on the international stage.
In a statement released on Friday night, however, the former Paris Saint-Germain captain simply stressed he was “looking forward to getting back in the team.”
“I am happy that this is finally over,” he explained.
“It’s been a difficult time for me but I knew I had done nothing wrong.
“I am looking forward to getting back in the team and playing again.”
Sakho, the club and his legal team will now reportedly consider whether to press forward with legal action, with the centre-back missing Liverpool’s Europa League final defeat to Sevilla in May.
As he stresses, however, the main aim will be to reclaim a place in Jurgen Klopp‘s starting lineup.
The German offered Sakho encouragement after Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Tranmere Rovers on Friday night, telling reporters “it’s a hard time over for Mama.”
Having seen Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren impress in the first half at Prenton Park, Sakho will be aware of the competition ahead of 2016/17.
But for Klopp, Sakho’s return is a significant boost, as is his commitment to returning to action.