Crystal Palace star Mamadou Sakho explains Christian Benteke handshake and insists it had ‘nothing’ to do with Liverpool or Jurgen Klopp
By Alex Martin For Mailonline 14:38 BST 24 Apr 2017, updated 14:38 BST 24 Apr 2017
- Mamadou Sakho and Christian Benteke celebrated a goal vs Liverpool together
- Critics wondered whether their celebration was a dig at Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp
- Sakho claims they would have done the handshake regardless of the opponent
- READ: Christian Benteke returns to haunt Liverpool with Anfield brace
Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho has defended his elaborate handshake with Chrisitan Benteke, which was executed after the striker scored against his former club Liverpool.
Both Benteke and Sakho fell out of favour under Jurgen Klopp last season with the former joining Crystal Palace for in a summer deal worth £30million and the latter leaving on a six-month loan in January.
Benteke ran over to his team-mate after scoring the first of his two goals at Anfield and Sakho made his way to the touchline even though he was not in the official match day squad.
Some theorised that the elaborate ‘rock, paper, scissors’ act was a subtle dig at their former manager, but Sakho insists it had nothing to do with their Liverpool connection and was merely a sign of their friendship.
‘When Christian scored, I stayed seated as I didn’t want to celebrate by respect for the club to which I belong and the fans,’ the defender said. ‘But when he came over to me, I stood up and did what we always do as friends, our hand check.
‘There was nothing behind it, nothing else to imply by it. Just two friends who are playing for the same team and who have the same goal, which is to get the three points at each game to make sure the team stays in the Premier League.
‘If we were losing 2-0 and Christian reduced the score, we would have also done it if he came to me.’
Sakho was shunned to Liverpool’s Under-23 squad for the first half of the current campaign after a series of conduct violations saw Klopp lose his patience.
He is not expected to play for Liverpool again, but a series of stellar performances under Sam Allardyce could at least increase his transfer value ahead of a likely permanent departure with reports suggesting they want £30m.
Together with Benteke, who has five goals in his last five Premier League appearances, Sakho has helped to vault Crystal Palace to 12th in the table, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Should he continue to impress, he could become the second large deal between the two clubs in as many seasons, following Benteke to Selhurst Park on a permanent basis.