Jurgen Klopp has insisted that Mamadou Sakho’s future remains with Liverpool despite sending him home from the club’s pre-season tour.
Sakho left the Reds’ training camp in California on Monday night, following Klopp’s concerns over his attitude while across the Atlantic.
The German revealed on Wednesday that Sakho had arrived late for their flight from Liverpool and a team meeting, as well as missing a training session overall.
Sakho is currently battling an Achilles injury, but was still expected to take part throughout the tour.
Now, he will continue his rehabilitation at Melwood, but following suggestions that Sakho could leave the club as a result, his manager has moved to quash speculation.
“Mama is not a bad guy, he’s a good person,” Klopp stressed, speaking to Sky Sports after Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Thursday morning.
“He’s not happy about the situation but it was my decision in this moment.
“You can believe I didn’t want to do things like this, but I like to be a nice guy until I can’t be a nice guy anymore.
“That’s how it is, but it’s nothing else.
“So he’s at home, we are here; we train here, he trains there. When we come to Liverpool again, then we’ll have a talk and we’ll see.”
When asked directly whether Sakho would be sold this summer, Klopp simply reiterated this was a punishment for his transgression, not a line under his Liverpool career.
“Come on, it’s not [like that]. Three times late, do you think I should [sell him]?” he asked.
“No, it’s an issue—it’s not the biggest thing, it’s not the smallest thing—it’s how football works.
“When you want a great team, then you have to do some things—if you don’t do it, then I have to react.”
Sakho’s sanction serves as a statement of intent from Klopp as he presides over his first pre-season as Liverpool manager: fail to attune to his demands, and there will be consequences.
As Klopp suggests, in attempting to build a “great team,” he requires every player to be on board with his vision.
The former Paris Saint-Germain captain clearly failed to prove this was the case while in Palo Alto, and will now be required to make amends when Klopp returns to Liverpool in August.