Liverpool defender Kolo Toure pledged his support for team-mate Mamadou Sakho after it was revealed the Frenchman failed a drugs test.
Sakho tested positive for a banned substance after the 1-1 draw against Manchester United in the Europa League on March 17 and could face a lengthy ban.
While the 26-year-old is not formally suspended at this stage, he will not be considered for first-team duty until the matter is resolved – a decision taken by the club in conjunction with the player – with Liverpool likely to request the testing of a B sample.
Toure said he could empathise with Sakho after suffering a similar plight five years ago when he was banned for six months after failing a drugs test while at Manchester City.
The former Ivory Coast international was also tested after a game against United in February 2011, with his A-sample containing the weight-loss drug bendroflumethiazide.
“I don’t want to remember that because it has been tough for me,” he said. “I don’t even want to talk about that because it is very hard.
“Right now I haven’t spoken with Mama to be honest. I’ve been in there and it has been really difficult, definitely.
“This is private but he knows what I think about him.”
Toure is out of contract at the end of the season but after some encouraging comments from manager Jurgen Klopp, hope remains over his future at Anfield.
“The future is bright for me and it was good news from the manager so I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
“It means I can maybe help the team. For me the most important thing is to help the team, if I can help the team improve or bring something to the team I’m quite happy to be here.
“Bringing something off the pitch is natural for me, I’m doing that because I want to help my team-mates, I want to fight on the pitch.
“I want to talk to players, that is the way I am. That is what I bring. I will keep doing that, it doesn’t matter what happens, anywhere I go.
“It is up to the manager and any decision he will take I will respect it.”
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