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Making a Case for Mamadou Sakho to Replace Steven Gerrard as Liverpool Captain

Published by Bleacher Report on Fri, 13 Feb 2015

Steven Gerrard's departure from Liverpool this summer will leave a huge vacancy at the club as their longest-serving captain heads across the Atlantic for MLS' Los Angeles Galaxy.Gerrard has captained the side since 2003 having taken over the armband from Sami Hyypia under Gerard Houllier's management.The iconic midfielder has led the Reds out a record 467 times in total, per LFC History, 50 games more than Ron Yeats. It's a record which is unlikely to ever be broken.Gerrard's presence at least is irreplaceable, nobody can match his status and the respect he commands from fellow professionals.New captainThe man tasked with stepping up after Gerrard's departure is Jordan Henderson, who was named vice-captain last summer following Daniel Agger's departure.Brendan Rodgers has praised Henderson's leadership qualities but, according to The Guardian's Andy Hunter says his promotion "is not automatic."Alas, that's likely Rodgers' way of ensuring Henderson does not take for granted what is about to be bestowed upon him this summer.Indeed, Henderson seems to have gotten the seal of approval from Gerrard himself, with the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce telling AnfieldHQ (h/t This Is Anfield) that "Gerrardtold me Henderson is the perfect man for him to hand over the armband to because of the way he conducts his life."Having captained England under-21s and taken on the armband with somewhat regularity in Gerrard's absence at Liverpool this season, Henderson is well placed to become the Reds' new leader.SakhoHowever, there will become another vacancy for vice-captain and that person could provide an alternative in the long term should Henderson fail to remain as a regular at Anfield.The player who should be high up Rodgers' list is Frenchman Mamadou Sakho.The combative centre-back, recently reinstated in the Liverpool defence, has experience in the role of captain at a big club. He became the youngest player ever to captain former club Paris St. Germain aged just 17 back in 2007, via FourFourTwo.A first choice in the French national side and a former French young player of the year, Sakho is starting to show just why Liverpool paid 18 million for him in summer 2013, with Rodgers sayingof his signing in 2013:Sakho is 23 but he is an experienced player. He has senior international caps and looks an absolute monster in training. He is one who is ready for now and that is what we want.We had a chance to do that and protect the club for maybe the next ten years and that is what we have done.Now celebrating his 25th birthday, Sakho has managed to find his place back in the side after being bizarrely shunned for Dejan Lovren in the early half of this season. Thankfully, Rodgers has seen the light and Sakho has given Liverpool a ball-playing centre-back to instigate attacks.Of course, the big myth about Sakho is that he isn't comfortable on the ball, a myth that is regularly perpetuated by lazy media and fans not watching closely enough. It couldn't be further from the truth. If anything, he's too comfortable on the ball and always looks to pass forward rather than take the easy option inside.Last May, This Is Anfield's Jack Lusby dispelled the "clumsy" myth by showing how his pass accuracy was among the best in Europeon par with Thiago Silva.@JimmyRiceWriter I'm a big Agger fan, but Sakho merely 'looks' clumsy. Because of his gait people think he plays like Djimi Traore Paul Tomkins (@paul_tomkins) May 8, 2014Against Tottenham, many observers may tell youSakho was uncomfortable in possession. Yes, there was one moment of madness when he was sold a short pass from Alberto Moreno, but that was due to Sakho actually attempting to control the ball and maintain possession; a vital requirement for the team.The fact Sakho's 93 percent pass completion, via Squawka,was the highest of any Liverpool player just goes to prove the myth wrong.Happy 25th birthday to Mamadou Sakho. He's completed an impressive 89% of his passes in the Premier League this term. pic.twitter.com/mhlUfkjT08 Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 13, 2015According to Squawka,since the turn of the year he'swon "more aerial duels (15) and made more clearances (46) than any other Liverpool player in the Premier League," underlining his importance and reliability.Now in his second year at the club, Sakho will only get better with learning the language and being able to communicate with his defence and team-mates, becoming more of a leader in the process.He's physically strong, aerially dominant, superb in possession and has the fighting spirit required to drive the team on.He's also a rather brilliant character off the pitch, too, as shown by his charity work, per the Mirror.
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