Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has offered some much-needed support to his club team-mate Mamadou Sakho.
The French defender hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the weekend after it was revealed he failed a drugs test following the Europa League clash with Manchester United last month and was under investigation from Uefa.
News broke shortly before Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday and Jurgen Klopp took drastic action, omitting Sakho from his matchday squad.
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It has been alleged that the substance found in Sakho's sample is widely used in fat-burning supplements, which Toure was found guilty using in 2011.
Toure was found guilty of a doping offence and banned for eight months despite claiming the tablets in question had been recommended to him by his wife and he consumed the banned substance without prior knowledge.
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There is no confirmation that Sakho broke any rules yet – Uefa's investigation is ongoing – but if found guilty, the 26-year-old could be facing a similarly lengthy ban. Toure, of course, knows exactly how Sakho feels and revealed that he still finds it hard to talk about that difficult point in his life.
“I don’t want to remember that because it has been tough for me. I don’t even want to talk about that because it is very hard,” the former Ivory Coast international told the Guardian.
“Right now I haven’t spoken with Mama, to be honest. I’ve been in there and it has been really difficult, definitely. This is private but he knows what I think about him.”
Dropped for weight gain
A sensational claim from the Mirror claims that Sakho was dropped from the Liverpool team in the early parts of this season because he was overweight. Such a claim would appear to suggest that the defender was having trouble with his weight, thus more likely to take weight-loss supplements.
Brendan Rodgers questioned Sakho's condition after the break and did not reintroduce him to the first-team fox six weeks.
The Irishman, since sacked, said in September: “The thing with Mama has been about making sure he is at a peak level of fitness to play games. That was always something of a concern.”
The same report also claims that Sakho believes he unwittingly ingested the substance when taking supplements designed to aid the growth of lean muscle.
What happens now?
Uefa will be testing Sakho's B sample as we speak and are expected to have the results on Tuesday. Should that test be consistent with the first, Sakho will have to decide whether or not to appeal the verdict.
However, it is believed that Liverpool are prepared to accept the charge if it is forthcoming.