Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has refused to challenge for his B sample to be tested by UEFA. The French defender has accepted UEFA’s findings that he failed drugs test and will plead mitigating factors to UEFA, as he fights to avoid a lengthy suspension.
Last week it was revealed that Sakho had tested positive for use of a ‘fat burner’ following the last 16 second leg Europa League tie on March 17 against Manchester United.
Liverpool have remained tight-lipped on this issue. And the club have decided not to comment on the matter until the issue has been resolved between UEFA and Sakho.
It means the centre-back won’t be travelling with the Liverpool squad to Spain on Wednesday ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League semi-final first leg with Villarreal and he will miss the rest of the season as well.
The club have decided not to consider him for selection while the process is ongoing. The French defender could be banned for up to two years, but with mitigation, the punishment could be reduced to six months.
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 27, 2016
Sakho’s absence is a huge blow for Liverpool. He has been simply immense for the Reds and has been one of the first names in Klopp’s team sheet since the German took over from Brendan Rodgers back in October 2015. His formidable partnership with Dejan Lovren is one of the key factors behind Liverpool’s drastic improvement under Klopp.
The worst part, however, is the timing of his absence. With Can, Henderson, and Origi likely to miss the rest of the season through injury, Liverpool have lost their spine with Sakho now unavailable for selection at this crucial juncture of the season.
It remains to be seen how Klopp reorganises his defensive set up following Sakho’s absence. Kolo Toure started against Newcastle United in Liverpool’s previous Premier League game and he will likely to feature more till the rest of the season. Alternatively, Martin Skrtel remains an option, but Toure will be entrusted to shoulder more responsibilities at the back.