When Branislav Ivanovic headed Chelsea into the Capital one cup final on Tuesday night, the agony of a semi final defeat was not the only thing hurting Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Apart from missing out on a golden chance to win a trophy this season, the Reds have been dealt a massive blow as defender Mamadou Sakho picked up an injury that is likely to keep him out for a few weeks.
Sakho has been in and out of the side since his 18 million pound move from PSG. However, the towering Frenchman has been exceptional for the Reds this season and has played a key role in Liverpool’s recent run of good results and improved performances.
The France international looked set to be frozen out when Liverpool splashed the cash on Dejan Lovren in the summer. Lovren’s poor form and injury however allowed Sakho to get into the side and establish himself as the best defender in the side over the last few weeks. The former PSG man has not only added a strong presence to Liverpool’s faltering backline, but his positional awareness and composure has tightened up a leaky defence for Liverpool.
Sakho’s absence means a return to the side for Dejan Lovren, who has been hugely responsible for Liverpool’s poor defensive displays in the first half of the season. Further, the likes of Emre Can and Lucas Leiva have also been crucial to Liverpool’s solid defensive performances of late and will be the key for Rodgers’ defensive unit in the absence of Sakho. Whether Lovren manages to rediscover his form remains to be seen, but the last thing Liverpool fans would want is a misfiring attack coupled with a leaky defence.
There has been a lot of talk about Daniel Sturridge returning to the side against West Ham and it will be a massive boost for the Merseysiders, who have struggled in front of goal since August. While it is expected that Daniel Sturridge will be the answer to Liverpool’s problems, it is perhaps unfair to pile on the weight of expectations on the England forward, who has been out for a considerable part of the season and will need time to get back to his form of last season.