By Matt Farr
Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce has admitted that signing Mamadou Sakho from Liverpool was a big gamble – but one that’s paid off.
He also claimed that every manager treats their players differently – a thinly-veiled dig that Klopp appears to have lost out on a star defender.
Sakho arrived at Selhurst Park on loan until the end of the season, after being frozen out of the first-team setup at Liverpool.
He had not played made a single appearance for the club since April last year, with Jurgen Klopp stating that he had no future at the club.
But while Allardyce admitted that the move was a gamble, he insisted to the Telegraph that he would be able handle him.
Klopp had grown frustrated at Sakho’s attitude during his time at Anfield, following a series of no-shows during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the United States.
Allardyce, however, likened the case to his former Bolton troublemaker, El-Hadji Diouf, whom he transformed into an instrumental figure.
He told the Telegraph: “As managers we deal with players in different ways. If I’d been harsh on Dioufy with some of the antics he got up to, he’d never have played for Bolton.
“You are slightly concerned when you take a player who has been frozen out. But we knew that you don’t play for Liverpool as many times as he did and become a bad player.
“Mamadou is a flamboyant character, a confident man – you can see that with his hair alone. But so far he’s not turned up late or anywhere he shouldn’t have.”
The Crystal Palace chief’s management skills appear to be doing wonders for Sakho, after the defender put in a commanding display on debut against Middlesbrough a week ago.
Sakho also played an important role in the win over West Brom on Saturday, ensuring Palace completed back-to-back wins for the first time in six months, and back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in almost a year.
The win also saw them climb out of the relegation zone at the expense of Middlesbrough, who now trail the Eagles by three points.
Liverpool, meanwhile, seem to be suffering from Klopp’s decision to exile Sakho. They have let in 34 goals this season – more than any other team in the top six and almost double that of league leaders Chelsea (19).