Ex-Liverpool under-23 coach Michael Beale has claimed that the first-team would be in a stronger position had Mamadou Sakho been part of the side this season.
The French international was frozen out of the picture by manager Jurgen Klopp during the first half of the season, before being loaned to Crystal Palace for the second half of the campaign.
Klopp’s decision to send Sakho to train, and subsequently play, with the under-23 side followed the fat burner incident and a series of unprofessional acts.
The German had instructed the former Paris Saint Germain defender to find himself a club to join on loan for the season back in August, but Sakho refused and stated his desire to stay and fight for his place.
He was unsuccessful and only further angered Klopp.
Palace manager Sam Allardyce agreed a deal to take him to Selhurst Park for the remainder of the season and Sakho has so far helped to improve their defence and position in the table.
But Beale believes that Klopp made a mistake and should have kept Sakho in the squad – claiming that Sevilla would have been beaten in the Europa League final last year to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
“It is a shame what happened at Liverpool. Both parties have lost.” he told Sky Sports.
“Sakho is playing for a club that I think he is too good to play for.
“Everyone is looking for a left-footed centre-half. If it is to be that he leaves Liverpool, he won’t be short of offers. He will likely move on.
“It will be sad if there cannot be some form of reconciliation, because I think Liverpool still need him. Jurgen felt he could go with other players.
“If Sakho was able to play against Sevilla in the Europa League final, Liverpool would have won. I am sure of that.
“That would have changed the whole course of things at Liverpool; they would have been in the Champions League, extra revenue, attract better players.
“Maybe Klopp cannot forget that. I don’t know the ins and outs.” he added.
Beale worked closely with Sakho before they each moved on earlier this season and he feels that the Frenchman was a model professional.
“When he first came to us at the U23s, I didn’t really know what happened with the manager,” he added.
“I didn’t want to know, and I said to him that as long as he respected me and the U23 players and staff then we wouldn’t have a problem. He went well beyond that.
“From that day onwards he was getting changed in a Portakabin. He was never, ever late, and he worked his socks off.
“He could not have been a better professional. You are seeing the results of that work now at Palace.
“His attitude was outstanding. I have never seen anything like it.” he finished.