Jurgen Klopp has offered Mamadou Sakho a possible route back into the Liverpool fold after the defender has been frozen out for the start of the season.
Sakho has not played for the Reds’ first team since April, when he was suspended following a positive doping test.
The case was ultimately dismissed by UEFA but Sakho was then sent home by Klopp from the team’s pre-season tour to the US for breaches of discipline.
An Achilles injury meant the 26-year-old was not available for the start of the season but he further inflamed things with Klopp by taking to Snapchat last weekend to claim the club were not telling the truth and that he was fit.
However, he returned to action for Liverpool in an under-23 game against Wolfsburg on Wednesday night, playing the full 90 minutes.
He is well down the pecking order in terms of the first team but has been given at least a glimmer of light.
And Klopp was keen to stress his other players must also tow the line having called the squad together for a meeting.
Asked if Sakho should work hard and keep quiet to try to earn his place back, Klopp said: “Those two things are not a rule for Mamadou Sakho, it’s a rule for every player – work hard and give your best.
“I spoke to the team and I spoke to Mama and we spoke together and that’s it. From my side everything is done and now we can carry on.”
— Mamadou Sakho (@mamadousakho) September 28, 2016
Sakho’s comments came in the early hours of last Saturday before Liverpool thrashed Hull 5-1 to continue their hugely encouraging start to the Premier League season.
It was the Reds’ fourth win from six matches this season, during which they have scored 16 goals, and their third in a row.
They sit in fourth place in the table ahead of Saturday’s trip to Swansea, five points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
There has been a lot of excitement about Klopp’s Liverpool and what his free-scoring team might achieve this season, but the German is not about to be seduced by the current sunny skies.
He said: “It’s quite easy for me to be happy about good things and I’m very optimistic about a lot of things but in this moment it is the wrong moment to talk too much about the games we’ve already played because in this part of the season you create a base for the rest of the season.
“Last year the base was obviously (points wise) not that good, we could never come close enough to the interesting places in the table, but this year we have the job to do.
“Christmas will come, the second part of the season will come, the weather will change. In this moment the weather is good in Liverpool, okay a little bit windy today, but everything seems to be all right.
“We need to stay fit, we need to have luck with injuries and all that stuff. When we can work together, when we can improve the things we know we have to improve, then we can play a really good season.
“That’s what we knew before the season. Of course it’s better to have a good start than an average or bad start, and until now it was a good start, but we have to build on it.”
Striker Divock Origi is Liverpool’s major doubt for the Swansea clash, with the Belgian having picked up a knock to his foot.
Klopp was speaking during his press conference to preview Saturday’s trip to Swansea, who the Reds manager believes are better than their league form suggests.
“They have played better than having four points looks like. They have different options with their style of play.
“We will be prepared for this game. We know about the quality of Swansea. We lost there last year after coming back from Villarreal.”
Klopp was forced to field a makeshift side following the Europa League trip to Spain and the boss accepts there are no such excuses this time.
“We had to make a lot of changes at Swansea last season. In that moment it was too much for us.
“Now we have no excuses. We have time to recover, time to prepare and time to analyse.
“We try to show that every week.
“In this part of the season you create a base for the rest of the season. We have a job to do. We need to stay fit and have luck.
“It’s been a good start but we have to build on it.”