Liverpool sidelined France international defender Mamadou Sakho on Saturday pending the result of a doping investigation.
France’s RMC radio reported that Sakho had failed a doping test following the use of a fat-burning drug as an aid to weight loss.
Liverpool, playing relegation-threatened Newcastle United in the Premier League at Anfield later on Saturday, did not provide details of the substance but said they had received a formal communication from UEFA on Friday.
However, the club, in consultation with the player, has decided that while this process is followed the player will not be available for selection for matches.
A club statement said that UEFA was “investigating a possible anti-doping rule violation by Mamadou Sakho” and the player would respond to European soccer’s ruling body.
UEFA have issued a statement regarding Sakho… pic.twitter.com/YiOVCE0zEP— Anfield Hub (@AnfieldHub) April 23, 2016
“The player is currently not subject to any playing suspension,” Liverpool added.
“However, the club, in consultation with the player, has decided that while this process is followed the player will not be available for selection for matches,” the statement added.
Liverpool are seventh in the Premier League, with four games remaining, but could qualify for the lucrative Champions League next season if they win the Europa League.
They are due to play Villarreal of Spain in the semi-final first leg on April 28 with the return at Anfield on May 5.
Sakho’s Liverpool team mate Kolo Toure was banned for six months in 2011 while at Manchester City for a similar failed drugs test.
A similar ban for Sakho would rule him out the European championship being held in France.