By Coral Barry

Mamadou Sakho could be hit with at least a six-month ban if he is found guilty of taking illegal substances.

Liverpool confirmed just before the Newcastle game on Saturday that the Frenchman is under investigation by UEFA after he failed a routine drug test.

The France international was tested after the second leg Europa League triumph over Manchester United on 17 March and French radio station RMC claim he has tested positive for a fat-burning drug.

Sakho’s Liverpool teammate Kolo Toure was involved in a similar incident in 2011 while he was still a Manchester City player.

Toure was hit with a six-month suspension by the Football Association after he tested positive for diet pills and Sakho could receive a similar punishment.

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Any ban of that length would rule Sakho out of the remainder of Liverpool’s campaign including their season-defining Europa League run-in while also stripping him of a place in France’s European Championship squad in the summer.

The Euros are due to be held on French soil and the defender had already virtually guaranteed his name on the selection list after an increasingly impressive season for Liverpool, but a six month suspension would rule him out of action for club and country until October.

Liverpool would already be two months into the new Premier League season by that time.

Sakho was in attendance for Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Saturday and watched from the stands as his team threw away a two goal lead to the relegation-battling Magpies.

Liverpool revealed that although Sakho has not been suspended by either the club or UEFA, it has been decided in consultation with the defender that he will not play again for Jurgen Klopp’s side until after the issue is resolved.

Klopp admitted after the game against the Magpies that he was informed of Sakho’s situation on Friday, but has refused to be drawn into a discussion about his player.

One match Sakho is set to miss is Liverpool’s crucial semi-final first leg with Villarreal in the Europa League.

The game takes place next Thursday and it is highly unlikely that Sakho’s fate would have been decided by then.

In other Liverpool news, supporters have reacted angrily to Simon Mignolet’s blunder against Newcastle.