Mamdou Sakho Says There Is ‘Superb Ambiance’ at Liverpool, Enjoys English Soccer’s Physical Style

Mamadou SakhoThe physical style of English football is something to be embraced, claims Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho.

Before joining the Reds on transfer deadline day in September, the 23-year-old had spent his entire career in France and progressed through the youth ranks at Paris Saint-Germain.

Having had a small taste of the Barclays Premier League during his two months at Anfield, Sakho has quickly become aware of a change in approach on these shores. Fortunately, it is one he is happy to participate in.

“French football is different to British football, but I have turned a page and Paris is behind me,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “I’m very happy and proud to discover the Premier League and especially playing in the Liverpool shirt. I play with great pride, I’m proud to be here.

“It’s a fairly physical style of football. There’s a lot of impact and a lot of contact in tackles. I don’t mind that.

“It’s something I appreciated before I came here and I’m used to now. I think I can continue to play the way I do, to help bring Liverpool great wins. I try to give my qualities for the service of the team, of course. I try to give the best of myself, which I’ve always tried to do since I started at the beginning of my career. I’ve always done that.”

Blessed with an imposing physique, strong aerial ability and effective pace, Sakho was described as a “massive coup” by manager Brendan Rodgers when he arrived.

But the French international downplayed suggestions made during his opening weeks at the club that he broke a piece of gym equipment midway through his medical at Melwood.

“It is true something happened when it got to its limit … I pulled off the bar at the bottom and they had to bring out a strap to reinforce the machine,” the No. 17 explained. “It was just a one-off, freaky thing that happened. I was just working and something went wrong — I can’t say I broke it!”

Sakho did not wait long to reveal his personality either. The defender recently interrupted an interview with colleague Martin Skrtel by producing a series of comic facial expressions.

The Parisian was pleased to report a welcoming atmosphere within the Liverpool dressing room and explained his chosen methods of communicating with teammates.

“There is a superb ambiance at this club,” said Sakho. “We have a young, technical group who have got ideas and experience. Steven Gerrard is there. They are all very friendly and nice guys.

“I arrived in a dressing room where there are already some characters and big players, the older players and more long-term players with a lot of experience.

“I tend to leave them to lead verbally in the dressing room, especially as I don’t really have the language yet. But on the pitch I’m there to talk, it’s part of my job — as a central defender you have to talk. On the pitch, I am a natural character, shouting and giving directions, chatting with the other players.

“You also have to make sure that the team is in the right position and keep them talking. I would say on the pitch, yes, but off the pitch, I leave it to the others.”

Photo via LiverpoolFC.com