Is Mohamed Sissoko heading out of Anfield? Seems like it. The Mali international has come out of the shell and pissed off his frustration and anger after being left out of the Liverpool squad that flew over to France to play Olympique de Marseille on Tuesday night in a crunch UEFA Champions League.
Sissoko is so much disillusioned with his lack of playing time for Liverpool that he has admitted to seriously contemplating his future at Merseyside. This is what Sissoko had to say:
I am seriously hacked off. The Marseille game is in France, all my family is over there and they wanted to see me play. These are difficult times for me. I have been thinking about leaving for some time now. It is the manager’s choice to leave me out. I can respect that, but we will have talks in January. I will sit down and take stock of the situation with my agents and the manager. I can accept healthy competition for places. But I am not interested in playing just one match in five.
Looks like not all players are satisfied with Rafael Benitez’s rotation policy. In a week when Liverpool lost their first Premiership game in the season, when they qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in some style and when striker Fernando Torres once again came out to the press and reiterated the players’ support for the manager, Sissoko’s transfer request isn’t the sort of news story that the club supporters have been expecting.
Sissoko is only 22 and has been a Liverpool player for the past two and a half seasons. He has featured in 76 matches in all competitions during this time but so far this season he has played in just 3 matches. Sissoko is still young and is considered as one of the most promising anchoring midfielders in the game. But since the start of this year, he has have to fight for a place in the starting XI with Argentine international Javier Mascherano, who is actually a better holding midfielder than Sissoko is.
Both Mascherano and Sissoko are of virtually the same age but Rafael Benitez prefers Mascherano. Sissoko has the knack to rush to dangerous tackles and over the years has imbibed this worrying habit of picking up needless cards. Now that Rafa has Mascherano who has gradually settled into this Liverpool team and is more calm and composed in the centre of the park, Rafa could just afford to let the player go.
In this context, it would be worthwhile to remember that Sissoko and Rafa had earlier worked with each other at Valencia and it was the presence of the Spaniard that propelled Sissoko to join Liverpool in the summer of 2005.
But is the relationship between Rafael Benitez and Mohamed Sissoko drawing to a close? Sissoko’s form so far this season has been pretty much off color and some Liverpool fans are ready to see him leave Anfield. Would Liverpool be able to cope without Sissoko? Or is there still some room for Sissoko in the Liverpool squad?
Now that Sissoko has clearly expressed his annoyance at not getting enough number of games, would Rafael Benitez’s rotation policy provoke more players to come out of the blocks?