By Matt Bullin
Former Liverpool Under-23 boss Michael Beale has claimed that Liverpool would have earned Champions League qualification if Mamadou Sakho played in the Europa League final last year.
Beale, who is assistant manager at Brazillian side Sao Paulo, coached the Frenchman while he was in exile from the senior squad.
Sakho has been on loan at Crystal Palace since January, after being restricted to just six Under-23s appearances for the Reds this term.
The 28-time France International has featured five times for Sam Allardyce’s side since his arrival, and has been a catalyst for their remarkable turn around in form.
Palace have won four of the five matches the 27-year-old has started in, including a shock win at Stamford Bridge over Chelsea, and they have kept three clean sheets.
The Frenchman was forced out of Liverpool’s Europa League final with Sevilla last season after UEFA found him to have committed a doping offence – of which he was later cleared.
Unfortunately, poor discipline on the pre-season tour of America saw him demoted from the senior squad.
Liverpool lost the Europa League final 3-1 and subsequently lost the opportunity to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
In an interview with the Liverpool Echo, Beale said of the final: “If Sakho was able to play against Sevilla in the Europa League final, Liverpool would have won. I am sure of that.”
Beale went on to comment that he believes that if Sakho is to leave Anfield this summer, he will be picked up by a bigger club than Crystal Palace.
“It is a shame what happened at Liverpool,” Beale said. “Both parties have lost. Sakho is playing for a club that I think he is too good to play for. I think Liverpool still need him.”
In other Liverpool news, Jurgen Klopp has announced some bizarre news ahead of Liverpool’s crucial end of season run in.