Belfast Telegraph

Toure quick to back Sakho after failed drugs test hits Liverpool

By Carl Markham

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has pledged his support to team-mate Mamadou Sakho after the France international failed a drugs test.

News of the 26-year-old's doping violation broke immediately before Saturday's 2-2 draw with Newcastle, and the Frenchman was omitted from the game.

Daniel Sturridge struck after just 58 seconds and Adam Lallana's goal on the half-hour had the Reds cruising in the first-half only for the visitors to give Rafael Benitez something to cheer on his return to Anfield through Papiss Cisse and Jack Colback.

Sakho has not been suspended following the notification from Uefa that they are investigating an alleged anti-doping violation following last month's Europa League tie at Manchester United. It is understood the substance which triggered the violation is used in 'fat-burning' supplements.

Toure suffered a similar plight in February 2011 when he was banned for six months after failing a drugs test while at former club Manchester City.

On that occasion he tested positive for endroflumethiazide, a weight-loss drug contained within 'water tablets' recommended to him by his wife.

"I don't want to remember that because it has been tough for me. I don't even want to talk about that because it is very hard," said the former Ivory Coast international.

"I haven't spoken with Mama. I've been there and it has been really difficult. This is private but he knows what I think about him."

Although a good friend of Sakho's - the Frenchman ran to his team-mate on the sidelines after scoring in the midweek win over Everton - Toure benefited from his absence with a place in the starting line-up against Newcastle.

There is every chance he will feature in Thursday's Europa League semi-final first leg in Villarreal.

Toure is out of contract in the summer but as recently as Friday manager Jurgen Klopp spoke positively about the 35-year-old's prospects of staying on.

"The future is bright for me and it was good news from the manager so I'm looking forward to it," he added.

"It means I can maybe help the team. For me the most important thing is to help the team, if I can help the team improve or bring something to the team I'm happy to be here.

"Bringing something off the pitch is natural for me, I'm doing that because I want to help my team-mates, I want to fight on the pitch.

"I want to talk to players, that is the way I am. That is what I bring. I will keep doing that, it doesn't matter what happens, anywhere I go.

"It is up to the manager and any decision he will take I will respect it."

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