Liverpool loanee Mamadou Sakho has defended his decision to celebrate Christian Benteke’s goal against the Reds on Sunday, report the Liverpool Echo.
The French defender received criticism for exchanging an elaborate handshake with the former Liverpool striker, both following the equaliser and after the game.
Sakho is on loan with the Eagles but was ineligible to play against his parent club, although his absence still didn’t stop his current side beating the Reds 2-1 at Anfield.
The 27-year-old spent the first half of the season with the Under-23s after a lack of discipline on the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.
Some observers took his gesture with Benteke as a message to Jurgen Klopp, whom banished him from the first-team squad.
Jurgen Klopp speaks after Crystal Palace defeat
But Sakho has come out and denied such accusations, saying he wanted to remain respectful to Liverpool.
“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,” Sakho 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 has been praised for his performances for the South London club since his arrival, with the defender playing a key role in the club’s renaissance under Sam Allardyce.
His efforts have alerted the likes of Southampton and Napoli to his availability, while Palace would also like to make his deal permanent, though there is no clause in the loan agreement which allows them to.
Liverpool want £30million for the former Paris St-Germain man, who revealed he was happy about the end result at Anfield on Sunday.
“We are very happy obviously. That was our goal when we set foot on the pitch. We need all the points we can get to be sure to stay in the Premier League – that is our mission. That is why I accepted the challenge with Palace, and we need to be the best we can as a team to succeed.”