Asked about the future of exiled centre-back Mamadou Sakho, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp refused to discuss his chance of a recall.
Sakho was demoted to the Liverpool Under-23s following a tumultuous summer that saw injury, attitude and acquisitions force him out of Klopp’s thinking.
The former Paris Saint-Germain captain was advised to leave the club on loan in the summer, but rejected advances from the likes of Stoke City and Besiktas, with an ill-judged outburst on social media in September souring his position further.
Addressing reporters ahead of Liverpool’s League Cup clash with Tottenham Hotspur, Klopp was asked as to Sakho’s status in the squad—and provided a stubborn response.
“I hope you didn’t make the long trip for this question,” he told a French reporter.
“Because answer is I’ve said everything about this already. You could read it in English newspapers!”
He was then reminded of Sakho’s dominant performance for the U23s in Sunday’s 2-0 derby victory over Everton Under-23s, but the German remained resolute.
“That’s good,” he continued, “but all that I’ve said about this I said to Mama in the talk, so nothing else to say about it.”
There is clearly a wedge driven between Klopp and Sakho, with the manager taking a different stance to the No. 3 and another first-team player who has dropped down to the U23s, Danny Ings.
When asked as to why he was willing to discuss Ings’ future prospects and not Sakho’s, Klopp simply said, “no, no, nothing to say.”
While Ings has an obvious pathway to the senior squad, utilising U23s games to prove his fitness and form while competing with Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi on the training ground, the same cannot be said of Sakho.
Joe Gomez has now returned from a long-term ACL injury, and while the 19-year-old won’t be considered for first-team fixtures for now, he presents another option at the back for Klopp.
Sakho could now feasibly find himself behind Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan, Lucas Leiva and his U23 partner Tiago Ilori in the centre-back pecking order.
Klopp’s stance is seemingly definitive, and it may be that the January transfer window provides a route of the club for Sakho.