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Liverpool did the right thing on Sakho's failed drugs test, maintains Jurgen Klopp

By Carl Markham

Published 28/04/2016

Pointing the finger: Mamadou Sakho’s season is effectively over
Pointing the finger: Mamadou Sakho’s season is effectively over

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists they have done the right thing with their handling of Mamadou Sakho after his failed drugs test.

The France international did not play against Newcastle at the weekend and did not travel to Villarreal for tonight's Europa League semi-final first leg after the club were alerted by UEFA to an alleged doping violation.

Klopp, the club's owners Fenway Sports Group and the player himself all decided it was best he did not feature for the team while the issue is still ongoing - which has effectively ended his season.

More: Villarreal v Liverpool Europa League: 'No room for tourists' insists Klopp as Reds shoot for glory

It's understood the 26-year-old opted not to request his B sample be tested ahead of Tuesday's deadline after his initial test - carried out last month after the Europa League tie at Manchester United - revealed traces of a fat-burning substance.

It is believed Sakho has accepted the breach and, although the club have refused to comment on his current situation as his response and subsequent course of action is confidential as it pertains to the individual himself and not the club, Klopp said he believes they have acted appropriately.

"At this moment there is really nothing else to say," he said.

"I think what they are all doing now is collecting information to clear the situation as much as possible.

"Then we have to wait for the next steps. It is not that we could do anything or we could not force anything, we have to wait.

"Until now we did what we thought was right, there is nothing else to say."

There is an outside chance Sakho could escape with a severe reprimand if there are extenuating circumstances but team-mate Kolo Toure was banned for six months while at Manchester City in February 2011 for a doping violation after taking 'water tablets' on the recommendation of his wife and it appears Sakho is more likely to incur a similar suspension.

Villarreal manager Marcelino, meanwhile, insists his side are more than equal to Europa League favourites Liverpool and hopes the visitors "suffer" at El Madrigal.

The Reds' dramatic win to put out Borussia Dortmund in the last round immediately made Klopp's team top of the betting to lift the trophy in Basle next month.

But Marcelino believes Villarreal, fourth in La Liga but 20 points behind third-placed Real Madrid, are a match.

"Liverpool might be the favourite - the club, their history and the fact that they knocked out Borussia Dortmund all add up - but we don't consider ourselves to be less than them," he said.

"We are going to give everything from our side to eliminate this legendary team.

"We don't have any pressure on us. I'm really satisfied with and grateful to this squad for getting to this semi-final.

"We are very hopeful and convinced that we are capable of beating Liverpool, and all the while we'll be enjoying the occasion.

"I felt more pressure in the previous knockout ties. We have the chance to make history at this club now.

"If we manage to enjoy the match and do the things we know how to do I think they're going to suffer a lot at our ground."

Belfast Telegraph

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