Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho could be on his way out of Anfield this summer, after falling out of favour with Brendan Rodgers. The Frenchman has been targeted by Serie A side Lazio, according to the club’s news website, La Lazio Siamo Noi.
Sakho has one eye on the European Championships in France next summer, and doesn’t want to risk being left out of his national side because of lack of playing time with his club. The 25 year-old is willing to take a pay-cut, according to the report, on his annual wages of €5 million euros on Merseyside.
His market value at the moment is €15 million, but there could a loan deal, with a subsequent option to buy.
Liverpool’s defensive woes
Despite their impressive attacking football in the 2013/14 season, Liverpool’s defence was a clear weakness. The superb showings by Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling enabled the Reds to score 101 goals in the league and finish runners-up. The reason they didn’t go on to win it though, was their leaky backline, which conceded 50 goals in the 38 games. This continued last year as they let in 48 and slumped to a 6th placed finish.
Rodgers doesn’t have a leader at the back, and even though Martin Skrtel is experienced, he is clearly not good enough to be the main man in a side looking to challenge for the title. Emre Can would function much better in a defensive midfielder role, while Kolo Toure is well past his prime.
Liverpool’s priority this season will be to get back into the Champions League, but in order to push forward, they need to bring in some stability in defence.
Dejan Lovren was signed last year for £20 million from Southampton but failed to live up to the hype. Sakho is a good ball-playing defender, and was useful when Rodgers went for 3 at the back, but struggled with injury issues and a lack of consistency.
New centre-back needed
Liverpool have made seven signings already this summer, but the only centre-back among them is inexperienced 18 year-old Joe Gomez, who arrived from Charlton Athletic. The Englishman is touted as a great prospect for the future, but the Reds need someone to shore up at the back in the meanwhile.
There was news of a possible move for Barcelona’s Marc Bartra earlier on in the summer, but talks have died down since.
Since Jamie Carragher’s retirement in 2013, there hasn’t been a figurehead in defence, leading from the front. This is something Rodgers needs to address in this window, and get in an experienced centre-back who will add both experience and a winning mentality to this young group of players.
With long-time captain and club legend Steven Gerrard also moving to the MLS, this team, despite their undoubted talent, is crying out for someone with a strong and imposing presence.