Mark Lawrenson says Liverpool's decision of handing Mamadou Sakho a new contract is sending mixed messages. The defender was handed his first start of the 2015/16 season in the Reds' 1-1 draw against Bordeaux in the Europa League clash.
The France international impressed with his performance and was the star player for the English side on 17 September. A day later, Liverpool handed the centre-back a long-term deal.
Sakho made a switch to Anfield from Paris Saint-Germain in 2013. The Liverpool Echo reported the Merseyside club rejected a loan approach from AS Roma for the defender in the summer transfer window.
The former Liverpool centre-back is confused with the Reds' treatment of Sakho. Lawrenson believes Brendan Rodgers is taking the decision "on the hoof at present" after the Frenchman was handed a new contract.
"Am I the only person somewhat confused by what's happening with Mamadou Sakho? Here was a player who had been bombed from the team completely all season. Yet he has one decent game in a second-string side and one day later he agrees a five-year contract," Lawrenson told the Liverpool Echo.
"Look, I understand Liverpool have been keen for some time for Sakho to commit to a new deal. So if that was the case, why hasn't he been playing? The Frenchman was even named captain in France!"
"It's nice that Sakho played well on Thursday, but let's not forget it was against an average French team. It's very difficult to work out what it all means."
"It does feel as though Brendan Rodgers is making his decisions on the hoof at present. Rodgers clearly didn't fancy Sakho a few weeks ago. So why were Liverpool even considering a long-term contract for him? Talk about mixed messages," he added.
Liverpool are without a win in the last four matches played in all competitions. This includes a 3-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham United and a 1-1 draw against Norwich City at home. The Reds' next three matches will be played at Anfield and Lawrenson admitted his former club's home form is a "pressing concern."
"For all the talk of Liverpool's iffy form at Anfield, one fact remains true. It's a lot easier to win games at home than it is away. And you'd much rather have four games in a row at home than on your travels," the Northern Irishman explained.
"Brendan Rodgers simply has to come up with a way that is going to get us winning on our own patch. We know we have missed the goals of Luis Suarez since his departure.
"But what we've also missed is his ability to press from the front. It was from his hard work that the rest of the team followed. Liverpool were a real pressing team, and that's clearly something Rodgers wants to replicate. So why can't it start from the front still? It's only asking people to close the ball down."