Jurgen Klopp’s stubbornness set to cost Liverpool dearly

Adam Brown

It’s been nothing short of a complete circus at Liverpool; it seems that there is always some sort of ongoing controversy, one way or another, from embarrassing cup exits or Mamadou Sakho – at least it provides brilliant entertainment for rivals.

Mamadou Sakho has shed further light on his ridiculous scenario developing at Liverpool, with the revealing in an interview:

I do not see myself as above the rules, I respect everyone. I paid my fine, I was sanctioned, I apologised to my team-mates and my manager. Aside from that, I do not want to go into the controversies.

Mamadou Sakho

What has actually happened for this to drag on so unnecessarily? Sakho made a mistake, just as other Liverpool players have in the past, yet his punishment has been so severe. Is he just an unfortunate victim of the wrath of Jurgen Klopp? You can argue all day about bringing the clubs name into disrepute – “He shouldn’t have took those pills!” or “He can’t be relied on!”. The fact is, he can be relied on – and he’s already proven that in multiple big games; Klopp is being stubborn here.

In comparison to other controversies which have occurred at Liverpool, how would fans react if the likes of Philippe Coutinho was the man outcast by the manager for similar reasons? Just as the club supported Luis Suarez, you’d probably see “Free Coutinho” shirts printed within a week. Regardless of ability, there has to be equality in the treatment of players. Did Jurgen Klopp sanction Roberto Firmino for his drink-driving? Or was that just slid under the carpet? That alone raises questions and makes his treatment of Sakho unjustified – even more so in Liverpool’s shocking current form.

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When a Championship player can do that to you, it is certainly a cause for concern. Imagine if he scored? He’d be on his way to the Premier League come Deadline Day. But this isn’t the only time the Reds defence has proven unstable – in simple terms, the team has leaked goals this season. Whilst the German manager is happy fiddling around to play Lucas at centre-back in some games and Connor Randall at full-back – there seems to be no place for the former PSG captain.

It’s foolish to think that the Kop couldn’t do with a player of Sakho’s quality. He’s a leader – and the idea of a partnership with Joel Matip is brilliant. Stubbornness can only get you so far – your ideas can eventually work out, but also, it can cause regression. Whilst it was all looking good before the new year, the defensive issues have never been resolved, this isn’t an issue which has only just occurred in 2017.

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The debate where fans who only watch ‘Match of the Day’ claim Sakho is awkward, is a whole other argument. He is actually a good passer of the ball, and he doesn’t need to prove to anyone how good he is – you only have to re-watch his games in the Europa League knockout phase to see that.

Jurgen Klopp isn’t wrong for tinkering with a side in the cup competitions, at what point will players get to prove themselves otherwise? So despite poor results of late, he can’t be blamed for believing in his players against weaker opposition. For the most part, the German gaffer has worked with what he has been given on a limited budget. In terms of net spend, the Reds actually made a profit on transfers – 19th in the net spend table. Effectively, there could have been much more investment in summer.

It’s easy to be hypothetical, but if Liverpool miss out on the top four due to further poor defending, the exclusion of Sakho could be huge. Klopp’s stubbornness would have cost a Champions League return in a situation which should have ended after an apology. We didn’t expect the Frenchman’s actions to go unpunished, but a complete exclusion when he was the team’s best defender is ridiculous. The German has got this one terribly wrong, and his stubborn approach to the scenario has meant that in the meantime, the struggle for top four will continue with fans getting used to the inconsistency of Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren, as well as leaking goals to teams like Swansea.

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