Sakho hails Gerrard influence
Mamadou Sakho has paid tribute to Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, calling the England international "an exceptional person".
After emerging from the Paris Saint-Germain youth academy to the senior team at the Parc des Princes, Sakho, 23, moved to Anfield on a long-term deal in the summer after his first-team appearances at PSG dwindled.
Though he has yet to master English, Sakho has been taken under Gerrard's wing, and the France defender is full of praise for his new colleague.
"The player that always impresses at Liverpool is Mr. Gerrard. He's a respectful man, calm, serene, with a foot like clockwork. He puts the ball exactly where he wants," Sakho told media at the French national team's training centre outside Paris ahead of Friday's friendly with Australia.
"He's an exceptional person on and off the pitch. He's helped me settle in, just as Kolo Toure has."
Nicknamed 'Killer' by manager Brendan Rodgers, Sakho has started Liverpool's last four Premier League games alongside Martin Skrtel in central defence.
Though he recently admitted it was a wrench to leave PSG, his hometown club, the centre-back believes he has found a home-from-home in north-west England.
He said: "Liverpool is the Premier League's most successful club, a club with a great history behind it. I'm very proud to wear that shirt, especially as I'm very family-oriented, and the club is like me. That suits me perfectly."
Meanwhile, Martin Kelly says he is prepared to be patient as he bids to regain a Liverpool first-team spot after a long-term knee injury.
The defender played his first competitive match for 12 months when he appeared as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 Capital One Cup defeat at Manchester United on Sept. 25.
Kelly was sidelined after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage during a Premier League match -- also against United -- at Anfield in September last year.
The 23-year-old began last season in the Liverpool starting line-up at right-back, but acknowledges that he faces a battle to win back a place.
Kelly suffered a minor setback after making his comeback against United, but is now fully recovered.
He told the Liverpool Echo: “You have to have a lot of patience in football as well as knowing when you are given your chance you have to take it.
“It has taken a long time to get back to full fitness. I feel really strong physically now and I am biding my time to get my chance and grab it with both hands.
“It has taught me to look after myself in terms of what my body needs to cope with the demands of the Premier League. Over the past 12 months, I’ve been getting myself to a physical condition which will cater for that and I’m raring to go to get that chance.”
Kelly has been building up his match fitness with appearances as an over-age player for Liverpool’s Under-21 side. He said: “For confidence in terms of my knee, it has been fantastic. But it is much more difficult playing in the Premier League and Capital One Cup than reserve-team level.
“I’ve done those few games as a physical aspect and I’m glad they’ve had me. It has been vital for my rehab.
“It felt good to be back. I was not rushed into coming back by the manager. He was always saying I had to be confident and the injury I had does knock your confidence but I’m past that barrier now and ready to push on.”