Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho’s hearing over a failed drugs test has been scheduled for next month.
The France international, who was initially suspended by UEFA for 30 days when the offence came to light, tested positive for a fat-burning substance after the Europa League tie against Manchester United in March.
UEFA subsequently did not extend the ban once it had expired at the end of May as the governing body launched its own investigation into whether the substance the centre-back took should even be on the banned list.
Sakho’s case will be heard next month, although no exact date has been set.
Sakho, after consultation with the club, decided to remove himself from selection when news of the failed test came to light in April, meaning he missed the Europa League final defeat to Sevilla and scuppered his chances of making France’s Euro 2016 squad.
The 26-year-old submitted his defence to UEFA’s disciplinary committee last month and as part of that process his legal team questioned whether the substance in the supplement should even be on the prohibited list given some apparent scientific evidence concerning its effects.
With Kolo Toure released and Martin Skrtel likely to move to Turkey after the European Championship, manager Jurgen Klopp is likely to have only three senior centre-backs at the club for the start of pre-season and one of those is new signing Joel Matip.
The outcome of Sakho’s hearing, and whether or not he receives a suspension, is likely to impact on Klopp’s transfer strategy as any ban would leave him with just Matip, Dejan Lovren and youngster Joe Gomez, who is returning from a nine-month absence caused by a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Liverpool have added a friendly against Klopp’s former club Mainz to their pre-season programme.
The match will take place on August 7, the day after their high-profile game against Barcelona at Wembley, which follows on from four friendlies in the north of England and a trip to the United States.