Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has often emphasised the importance of team spirit within his squad.
Fostering a harmonious attitude within the camp is vital going forward, and any threat to that is to be removed.
It was a hallmark of his Dortmund side, and of Klopp as an authority figure, that beneath the smile and glasses is a manager quite capable of being ruthless when he needs to be.
One need only see the way he has already decimated the Liverpool squad – with more departures almost certain – for evidence that belief in, and adherence to, his system is essential for a player’s Anfield survival.
To that end, if Mamadous Sakho did genuinely have an attitude problem on Liverpool’s tour of the US, it is no surprise to see Klopp taking a hard line with him.
At this point the reasons for Klopp sending Sakho home from the tour are not fully known, but if we are to take the reports from the likes of the Liverpool Echo and the Telegraph at face value then the general consensus is that his conduct infuriated the manager so much that he deemed it necessary to remove Sakho from the equation.
The reasons for the 26-year-old’s early return to Merseyside could be more innocent – he is still nursing an Achilles injury after all – but it is worth noting that Lucas and Joe Gomez are also injured, but have remained with the squad.
He started pre-season on the wrong foot by turning up late for Liverpool’s California training camp, which Klopp himself has confirmed, while the Telegraph has claimed that the relationship between player and boss has “deteriorated” over the last couple of days. This in turn left Klopp with no other option but to send Sakho home.
Klopp has stated that he would not sign a player unless they were 100% committed to the Liverpool project. That same philosophy extends to his current squad, and therefore Sakho’s Liverpool future has to be in doubt now.
Klopp is not about the individual – he sold enough of his stars at Dortmund to come to that conclusion – he will sell Sakho, regardless of the player’s ability, if he feels that is what is best for the team spirit going forward.
One would think that, having escaped a UEFA ban for an alleged doping violation, that Sakho would be doing his best to keep his head down. Liverpool fans defended him to the hilt for that occurrence, but their unwavering support for Klopp means that this is one battle that the defender would not win.
At this point it is impossible to say how this will play out. Liverpool’s US tour continues this week before they return to Britain to continue their pre-season preparation.
All parties involved will undoubtedly be hoping that there is quick and satisfactory resolution to this matter, but Klopp will maintain his tough stance and Sakho will just have to respect that.
Whether or not he will still be a Liverpool player in September, however, remains to be seen.