Sakho's Snapchat sullies fail to distract Klopp's Reds

Substitute Daniel Sturridge earning Liverpool a penalty against Hull City's Andrew Robertson, who was taken in by the striker's dancing feet and brought him down. James Milner scored his second spot kick of the game to complete the Reds' 5-1 win, han
Substitute Daniel Sturridge earning Liverpool a penalty against Hull City's Andrew Robertson, who was taken in by the striker's dancing feet and brought him down. James Milner scored his second spot kick of the game to complete the Reds' 5-1 win, handing caretaker coach Mike Phelan a bitter-sweet gift on his 54th birthday.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp would not allow controversial comments from defender Mamadou Sakho to take the gloss off a "brilliant" first-half performance from his Liverpool side, as they beat Hull City 5-1 at Anfield.

Sakho said in a Snapchat post on Saturday that suggestions he was not fit to play were a "lie".

The centre-back - who was sent home from Liverpool's pre-season tour of the United States for disciplinary reasons - is yet to play for them this season and rejected the chance to move on loan before the transfer window closed.

Liverpool manager Klopp said earlier this month that the France international did not need to regain his trust but that Sakho needed to build up his fitness after not playing since April following a suspension for a failed drug tests - subsequently overturned by Uefa - and an injury suffered during pre-season.

But Sakho disputed those claims and said he had completed his rehabilitation work.

"I accept my situation but I can't accept the lie - the fans deserve to know the truth," the former Paris Saint-Germain defender, 29, said on Snapchat. "Now it's three weeks since I am fit to play games. I finish all my rehabilitation work."

Klopp was asked about Sakho's comments after Liverpool had won for a third successive Premier League game, but said this was not the time to make a response.

The German added: "On a match day I'm in completely the wrong mood to think about things like this. I will address the situation when I think it is the right moment. I haven't decided when that is but it's not Christmas."

Klopp had no other problems to contend with. He saw his team sweep aside a Hull side reduced to 10 men after half an hour, when defender Ahmed Elmohamady was sent off for handling the ball on the line and conceding a penalty which James Milner converted to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead.

The home side were 3-0 up at the break and Klopp said: "The first half was brilliant. That was how football should be if you are able to do it. "The second half was not as exciting, still good, but not at 100 per cent of concentration."

The result means Hull have now lost three of their last four league games but acting manager Mike Phelan, 54 on the day of the game, was not prepared to criticise his team in the middle of a testing run which continues with a home game against Chelsea this weekend.

"I am not going to pick holes in the team or the players," he said. "They have come a long way from pre-season and they have got points on the board. We also knew we had a run of three games - Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea - which are always going to be difficult."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'Sakho's Snapchat sullies fail to distract Klopp's Reds'. Print Edition | Subscribe