Brendan Rodgers, the ex-manager of Liverpool Football Club, now boss of Celtic, claimed he signed Liverpool defender Kolo Toure in the summer of 2013 to “add experience” to the Reds’ back line.
Touré had an arduous challenge to overcome with his arrival to Anfield in July 2013. Liverpool had omissions defensively & factors which left a void in our backline. At the end of the 2012-13 campaign, club legend Jamie Carragher retired from professional football. Injury issues also surfaced, as the likes of Daniel Agger & Martin Kelly were hampered by injury during the campaign, leaving the Reds with little reliable service at the back or anyone who had proven pedigree at a professional level.
If you took away our regular defensive team for that season, which consisted of Carragher, Agger, Kelly & Martin Skrtel (his form was disappointing in the league), we were left with the likes of youngsters Andre Wisdom & Sebastián Coates, who had little experience or quality at professional level, bar Coates’ brilliant goal against Queens Park Rangers.
The lack of defensive versatility led to then-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers turning to rivals, Manchester…City. Kolo Toure, at the time, was seeing his four-year contract at Man City expiring very soon. Toure was an ideal defender to express interest in; he had experience in the first-team at two powerhouses in the Premier League. He played for Arsenal and Manchester City in his career before moving to Anfield, and proved to be very successful in his spells at the two clubs, winning 7 trophies in total. He also played for 13 years at international level.
In his first season at Anfield, Toure made a respectable 24 appearances, however was an inconsistent performer throughout 2013/14, including a horror show against West Brom, a game which may have proved costly in Liverpool’s agonizing failure in pursuit of the title. He appeared nervous at times as well, he made sloppy passing and control on occasions, accompanied by the signing of Mamadou Sakho, who divulged similar performances to Toure’s that season.
As the Ivorian began to feature consistently on the substitutes bench, there were question marks over his future. In fact, in the summer of 2014, he reportedly agreed a deal to move to Turkish side Trabzonspor, but Toure reiterated he wanted to vow fighting for a first-team place at the club.
The next campaign, he featured 21 times for Liverpool, however, he was only in the starting eleven 13 times for the season. Again, the transfer talk surrounding him resurfaced, as rumours implied he wanted a club that guaranteed consistent first team football. He did, however, agree a one-year contract with the club in the summer, and in 2015/16, made 26 appearances, the most he made in a season at Liverpool. It was also a milestone season for him; he scored his first Liverpool goal against Aston Villa in February 2016, and proved reliable cover for the injured/out of form Martin Skrtel and the banned Mamadou Sakho, as the Reds progressed to the Europa League final in May, only to be defeated 3-1. He was the MOTM for Liverpool in that game, despite Liverpool’s defensive capitulation that night.
And so it brings us to the current day, where Toure is reunited with his former boss, Brendan Rodgers, at Celtic. He was particularly composed and impressive in his last season, but he does need to be transferred to a club where he is guaranteed first team football, as he’s unlikely to be a part of Jürgen Klopp’s first team plans next season.
Written by Ste Lindell (@SteLindellLFC)