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Thursday 14 December 2017

rodgers - i've warned sakho

Liverpool boss says his players are happy

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers denies there is unrest within the camp after a stuttering start to the season but admits he has warned defender Mamadou Sakho about his behaviour.

The France defender is expected to be fined after storming out of Anfield ahead of Saturday's Merseyside derby having discovered he was not in the squad.

Despite an impressive reputation at international level, Sakho has had an unconvincing start to his Liverpool career since arriving from Paris St Germain a year ago.

He lost his place to fit-again Martin Skrtel at West Ham just over a week ago and was unconvincing when recalled for the Capital One Cup tie against Middlesbrough, resulting in him being omitted entirely against Everton and provoking his fit of pique.

Sakho has not travelled to Switzerland to face Basle as Rodgers said he sustained a thigh injury which will rule him out for two to three weeks but he has tackled the 24-year-old over his weekend strop.

"It is not something we expect from any of our players but we have spoken," he said.

"He knows fully the situation, he apologised and we move on from it.

"His injury has come in a training session so it is unfortunate really.

"He just felt a pain in his thigh, he has had the scan on it and it shows he has a slight tear in there which will be two to three weeks."

Rodgers denied there was unhappiness in the camp after a disappointing start to the campaign which has seen his side win just four times in eight games - two of which were an added time winner against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets and a marathon penalty shoot-out success over SkyBet Championship side Middlesbrough.

SUCCESS

"It is anything but that," he added. "Any of the players will tell you this is a group that is very much based on success and the behaviours within our team.

"We can understand that a player is not happy but it is very important that what we have achieved is down to the team.

"We are obviously working hard to consistently win games and I think we are seeing the early stages of all the players integrating and coming together.

"It will take a bit of time but it is never something which affects the team.

"The team is very happy in terms of the relations with each other and we aim to continue to simply work hard and gain positive results."

They will do that, for the time being, without Daniel Sturridge as the England striker is not yet fit to return from a thigh strain which has sidelined him for five matches.

Liverpool return to the scene of one of their embarrassing Champions League exits as Basle's St Jakob Park was the venue in 2002 for their 3-3 draw - having been held 1-1 at home - which saw them exit the group stages.

Captain Steven Gerrard is the only survivor from that side but it is not an event about which he speaks much considering he suffered the ignominy of being replaced at half-time by Salif Diao of all people with the side 3-0 down.

Gerrard ranked it as one of the worst performances of his career - prompting then manager Gerard Houllier to publicly question whether the then burgeoning 22-year-old was believing his own hype - so no wonder no one has asked him for his recollections.

"I've not had that conversation with him," said midfielder Adam Lallana of Liverpool's defeat 12 years ago.

"It is great we have a role model like Stevie within the group: he's been there and done it before, lifted the trophy so his experience is invaluable for us."

The focus is very much on the present, although that has extended to watching Basel's win over Chelsea last season, having also beaten Tottenham and Manchester United in the last four years.

"They played Chelsea last season and I remember watching that and we have obviously studied them and analysed them but we are focusing on ourselves," he added.

BASLE v LIVERPOOL

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