This month marks six years since Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp fell out with defender Mamadou Sakho ahead of the 2016-17 season. This was Klopp’s first full season in charge at Anfield after he replaced Brendan Rodgers in October 2015.
Mamadou Sakho was one of the most popular players in the squad at the time. The French defender was signed from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for around £18 million back in 2013.
However, Sakho did not enjoy the best relationship with new manager Jurgen Klopp. The Frenchman was sent back to England from the club’s pre-season tour of the United States due to incidents that happened back there.
Sakho’s popularity amongst the Liverpool supporters saw him film the club’s pre-season tour, including when they visited the Alcatraz prison. While filming, he gatecrashed Jurgen Klopp’s interview and asked whether the German tactician could live here. In response, Klopp stated that they had come here to leave Sakho behind. This funny conversation was a sign of something brewing in the background.
Days later, Sakho was late for a team meal and even missed a treatment session in California. The Frenchman was suffering from an Achilles injury at the time.
Jurgen Klopp said the following regarding Sakho being sent home from the pre-season tour (via the Liverpool Echo):
“I have to build a group here, we have to start new here. So I thought maybe it made sense for him to fly home to Liverpool and after eight or 10 days when we come back we can talk about it. It’s not that serious.”
“He nearly missed the departure of the plane, he missed a session and was late for a meal. We have some rules and we have to respect them. If somebody doesn’t respect it or somebody gives me the feeling he is not respecting it then I have to react that’s all.”
This incident ended Mamadou Sakho’s Liverpool career and he was very quickly moved out of the club by manager Jurgen Klopp.
Mamadou Sakho did not have the best of times during 2016. The injury saw him miss that year’s UEFA Europa League final in Basel, where the Reds lost to Sevilla. He even missed out on France’s squad for Euro 2016.
Sakho was also approached by UEFA for allegedly violating an anti-doping rule. The defender was given a 30-day ban from all European football which later expired since the substance was not found on the list of banned items.
How did Mamadou Sakho’s career go once he left Liverpool?
Mamadou Sakho spent the first half of the 2016-17 season with Liverpool’s reserve team before moving to Crystal Palace on loan in January 2017. Palace made Sakho’s move permanent in the summer transfer window, signing him for a fee of around £25 million.
Sakho spent a total of four-and-a-half seasons at Selhurst Park, where he made 75 appearances across all competitions.
Last summer, Mamadou Sakho left Crystal Palace to return to Ligue 1 via Montpellier. The 32-year-old defender made 32 appearances for Montpellier across all competitions during the 2021-22 season, 29 of which were made in the league.
However, it is safe to say that Sakho’s career was never the same once he fell out with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.