Liverpool fans are well renowned for the innovative and catchy songs they create for their favourite players.
The Anfield faithful 'just couldn’t get enough' of Luis Suarez; Fernando Torres was ‘Liverpool’s number nine’; and Luis Garcia ‘drank sangria.’ These were all brilliant songs for the club's idols in recent years that had the Kop bouncing.
A new chant was heard amongst the stands last Thursday for the next fan favourite on Merseyside: Mamadou Sakho.
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Except this time, it didn’t quite compare to the catchy songs of yesteryear. The chant of ‘Sakho, Sakho, Sakho’ lacks imagination, but it was all that could be heard at the final whistle, with the centre-back saluting the Kop to show his appreciation for the spontaneous song.
It’s unusual for a centre-back to be idolised by fans due to the lack of excitement they add to a match - supporters love players that get them out of their seats with a piece of magic capable of winning a game.
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So how has Sakho become such a fan favourite at Anfield?
It is believed that when the Frenchman signed for Liverpool in the summer of 2013 for £18 million, it was a signing conducted by the much talked about 'transfer committee' at Anfield, rather than former manager Brendan Rodgers.
It wasn’t difficult to believe that theory, of course, with Rodgers seemingly reluctant to play the awkward defender during his reign.
A year after joining, Sakho’s relationship with the Northern Irishman reached boiling point. After being told he would be left out of the squad for the Merseyside derby, the 25-year-old stormed out of Anfield – an incident that meant he wouldn't start again until December.
But despite consistently good performances upon his return last season in a three-man defence, alongside a diabolical Dejan Lovren, it was the Croatian that was given the nod alongside Martin Skrtel at the heart of the defence for Liverpool this campaign. Reds fans couldn't believe the decision.
It took until September 20 for Sakho to make his first start in the Premier League and, with Lovren now out with a long-term injury, it appears Sakho will be granted an extended run of league starts.
Sakho epitomises a 'no-nonsense' defender. If he sees the ball, he tries to win it and usually does. There's none of this modern-day jockeying when the France international is involved. His gangly appearance may remind Liverpool fans of Djimi Traore, but he's far more composed on the ball than he sometimes looks.
During Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager, he stressed the importance of a solid defence. The club’s back four has been far from reliable for many years, but building the defensive unit around Sakho would be a good place to start.
He looks the player that Liverpool thought they had signed in 2013 and his performances under Klopp have been brilliant. His personality and commitment make him a leader on the pitch and, in many people’s eyes, the former PSG man should be vice-captain instead of James Milner.
If he continues such form, the Kop should perhaps consider creating a more imaginative and catchy chant for a player that could prove a mainstay under Klopp.
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