While Liverpool have been quite busy (and unsuccessful) in the transfer market this summer looking for a centre back, one of their lower-profile signings, bringing in Kolo Toure on a free transfer, might have been the answer to their defensive problems.
Jamie Carragher wasn’t in Rodgers’ plans last season, but Martin Skrtel’s form deteriorated to new lows, and forced the veteran back into the lineup. It didn’t stop him from retiring, and the club was once again thrust into a search for someone to partner Daniel Agger with in the defensive line.
So Kolo Toure, who played in only 15 league matches for Manchester City, and never really recuperated from his six-month suspension after failing a drug test, or at least never really gained his previous place in the lineup for Manchester City.
His debut for Liverpool against the physical and big Stoke forward line was impressive. Yes, Liverpool needed Simon Mignolet to save the day in the 89th minute with a penalty save. But Toure was very effective as the less elegant part of the centre back duo, but putting himself as the more physical half of it.
Toure is a defensive leader, and one of those that puts his body on the line every time he’s on the pitch. But he’s also much more suitable than Skrtel to the passing game Liverpool are trying to adapt. This isn’t a long term solution to an age-old problem, with Toure turning 33 in six months, although it doesn’t seem like his ability has been really hurt by growing older.
Liverpool might still bring in a centre back by the end of the transfer window, although it seems that each of the players Liverpool were actually after during this summer is either too expensive or simply not moving at all, but even if they have to settle for Kolo Toure as their second starting central defender, they’d be enjoying a qualified and excellent selection.