What a difference a year makes!

Not too long ago he was the rock in Liverpool’s defence but now Mamadou Sakho now sees himself completely exiled from the first team with seemingly no way back but with four clean sheets in his six games with Crystal Palace, fans are left wondering why Sakho isn’t in this poor defensive Liverpool team.

Many are calling for his return to Liverpool, but will that ever happen?

Near the tail end of last season, Sakho was in the heart of Liverpool’s defence, putting in one world class performance after another. A clear fans’ favorite, everything was going so well. We all remember that interview after the amazing comeback against Borussia Dortmund. Sakho thanked the fans and dedicated the victory to “Liverpool country”. But then it happened.

On April 23rd, UEFA announced that they would be investigating Sakho for violating an anti-doping rule. Liverpool decided while the investigation was going on that Sakho would not be available for team selection.

After testing positive for a fat-burner, UEFA banned Sakho for 30 days from all European football, which FIFA extended to cover all world football. Everything started to go downhill from there. Sakho missed the Europa League final, in which many fans blame his absence for the loss. Also, because of the ban, France did not call him up for the Euros. He missed out on the chance to play in a European final with Liverpool and in a major international competition for his country, which they were hosting. Fans feared the worst as Sakho could have faced a ban anywhere from six months to two years.

But on May 28th, the ban expired after the substance was found to not be on the banned substance list. After a nightmare month, Sakho was finally free. An exciting season was ahead as the Reds were preparing for Jürgen Klopp’s first full season in charge. Joël Matip came in and fans were excited to see the new signing pair Sakho in defence.

While Liverpool were in the United State,s out of nowhere, Sakho was sent home. The player says it was just for being late to training. Klopp states other reasons like disrespecting club rules, but it has to be much more than that.

Liverpool are clearly a poor defensive side so why wouldn’t Klopp bring back Sakho. Should he bring him back? Is Klopp letting his pride get the best of him?

Maybe Sakho does have an attitude issue. Back in 2014, Sakho walked out of Anfield after hearing that then manager Brendan Rodger left him out of the squad for the Merseyside Derby. In one of Liverpool’s most important games of the season, he put himself over the team.

You have to ask yourself what do you value more, quality or attitude? Yes Sakho is a fantastic player and would definitely walk straight into this Liverpool team and make them instantly better, but if he has an attitude problem is it worth it?

I love Sakho as much as the next guy but surely team unity and spirit is more important than any individual and clearly Klopp things so too. As a manager you have to build some sort of a family feel in your squad and if someone is risking that then you take them out. It may be tough but Liverpool’s success is more important than anything. No matter how good you are the team always comes first.

But hey, it’s not all bad. With Sakho’s recent performances for Crystal Palace, Liverpool have now placed a £30m value on him.

Southampton manager Claude Puel is said to be an admirer of the French defender and that may favour Liverpool in the hunt for Virgil van Dijk in the summer.

Either way, whatever happens to Sakho in the summer, you can be sure that the decision made by Klopp will be the best one for Liverpool.