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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

News Media Watch from Liverpool FC: Carra: I knew Sakho would be a star

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Carra: I knew Sakho would be a star
Sep 11th 2013, 09:30

This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

The familiar reassuring presence of Jamie Carragher will be missing when a new batch of Liverpool centre-halves try to find their feet at Anfield this season.

But £17m centre-back Mamadou Sakho has already had the benefit of Carragher barking in his ear on a football pitch - just before a former Reds boss bent his ear on the flight home!

The 6ft2inch French international received a taste of Liverpool Football Club's attention to detail in a charity match in Corsica 18 months ago, organised by Gerard Houllier.

"I played alongside Sakho," said Carragher. "How did it go? Well we won 2-1! I talked him through it and he was fine.

"But I remember on the flight home Gerard Houllier having a really good word with him, even though he wasn't his manager, saying what he needed to do to improve.

"I thought that was typical Gerard, always attention to detail!

"It wasn't even his player and he was trying to improve him. He later said to me, 'He's going to be a player, him'."

His words were prophetic.

Eighteen months on and Sakho is a 14-cap full French international, a former captain of Paris St Germain and an imposing physical presence.

Carragher is looking forward to seeing him in action, but in exactly what role he's still not certain.

"He's at a great age, physically he's ready for the Premier League, it will just be interesting to  see where the manager brings him in," he said.

"He's left-sided and there's competition for places everywhere now. Cissokho's been brought in to put pressure on Enrique, Skrtel's done really well in the Manchester United game, while Toure's been a revelation. In the first three games he was superb so we'll be looking to get him back against Swansea.

"Competition's what you want, but of course you don't want your best players on the  bench.

"I think the manager just has to juggle it round a little bit now and use the best two. The young lad Tiago Ilori will be one for the future I think, maybe next season, but the sort of money that has been spent on Sakho would suggest he is going to be a starter."

Sakho was Liverpool's highest priced acquisition on transfer deadline day - a day when the  Reds were so organised that boss Brendan Rodgers was able to attend the ECHO's Bill Shankly  Memorial Dinner that same evening and present the prestigious memorial award to his old  vice-captain.

"I think the transfer window was really good for Liverpool," said Carragher. "There was no panic, no stress.

"Sometimes clubs can go right to the end of the window - Everton did this time and it worked out brilliantly for them - but from Liverpool's point of view we had the Shankly do on the Monday night and the manager was there because everything was done.

"That's always a good sign and proved they got all the business done early.

"We even had some new players in the stand for the Manchester United game the day before  - so loads of Liverpool players, officials and staff could sit back on Monday night and watch it all unfold with Jim White .... and Sky Sports."

Ever the professional, just as Liverpool dominated discussions with Carragher during his playing days, now he drops in references to his current employers.

And he's attacking his role as Sky TV match analyst with as much gusto as he did forward's ankles.

But does he miss being out on the pitch in the thick of the action?

"Not really," he said. "I haven't kicked a ball since I finished. I was supposed to play in Petrov's game but something came up and I couldn't make it.

"I must be honest, I love football - watching it, playing it, talking about it - but I'm just loving what I'm doing at the moment, going to games, analysing them.

"I'm just focused on that at the moment rather than playing. You don't actually relax at games any more because you're always watching and analysing  things.

"Obviously I'm a Liverpool fan - it would be stupid of me not to say that or to have other clubs thinking I'm totally impartial. If Liverpool are playing I want to see them win.

"I want to see them beat Swansea.

"But seeing them at the top of the league certainly makes my job easier!"

Source: Liverpool Echo

This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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