Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has jeopardised both his and his team’s season by allegedly testing positive for a banned substance.
While the French international has not been suspended either the club or UEFA, he has been with withdrawn from first team action for the time being, leaving veteran Kolo Touré – who himself served a six month ban for a similar offence in 2011 – likely to partner Dejan Lovren in central defence in Thursday night’s Europa League semi final first leg against Villarreal.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has today hit out at the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, calling his professionalism into question and admitting he is fearful of the impact this could have on Liverpool’s season.
Speaking in his role as a pundit on Sky Sports News HQ, Carragher said:
“It’s a nightmare for the player,
“I think he’s let himself and the club down badly, because he’s become a really important player.
“There’s serious questions to be asked of him.
“He’s had a great campaign. He’s one of the leaders of the team now, certainly within that run, thinking about how well he played in the Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund games.
“It’s now how Liverpool fill that void.
“For a professional footballer, as in any sport, it’s not acceptable.”
Sakho is alleged to have taken the substance unwittingly in a fat-burner as he looked to stay in peak physical shape – having had problems with his weight earlier on in his Liverpool career. Nonetheless, UEFA are likely to take a dim view of any banned substance being taken – regardless of how it was ingested.
He has until Tuesday to request that the B sample be tested, which he almost certainly will, but should he formally charged by UEFA in relation to anti-doping violations, he could face a significant amount of time on the sidelines through suspension.
Sakho arrived for training as normal on Monday morning, and is yet to comment publicly on the matter.