Red alert: Sakho is struggling with knee problems

By Coral Barry

Mamadou Sakho has been suspended by Liverpool after failing a drugs test, according to French radio station RMC.

The France international is said to have tested positive for a banned fat burner drug during a routine test.

RMC Sport claimed on Saturday afternoon that the defender has been provisionally suspended pending an internal investigation ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League showdown with Newcastle on Saturday. The Merseysiders have offered their full co-operation while the investigation takes place.

It is claimed by RMC that Sakho took the drug innocently and was unaware that it was a banned substance.

Sakho’s absence is likely to overshadow the return of Rafael Benitez and his Newcastle side to Anfield on Saturday afternoon.

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The 26-year-old Frenchman has become an integral part of the Liverpool squad since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp in October, but his immediate future has suddenly been thrown into doubt as a result of the alleged offence.

The Frenchman has struck up a solid partnership with Dejan Lovren in recent months and has emerged as a favourite among supporters for his commitment and last-ditch tackling.

Sakho also scored the crucial third goal during Liverpool’s remarkable quarter-final second leg victory over Borussia Dortmund nine days ago and was again on the scoresheet for the Merseysiders when they thumped Everton 4-0 in midweek.