Belfast Telegraph

Rodgers hails Toure's influence

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes new signing Kolo Toure has brought back some of the leadership qualities the side lost with Jamie Carragher's retirement.

The Reds signed the Ivory Coast international on a free transfer from Manchester City in the summer to help fill the void created by Carragher's decision to hang up his boots.

The 32-year-old brought with him a wealth of experience having been a member of title-winning sides at Arsenal and City.

He made his Liverpool debut in last week's season-opening Barclays Premier League win over Stoke and Rodgers is pleased with the way he has fitted in.

Rodgers said: "He is a good man. He is funny to watch sometimes when he is running about, he has always got a smile on his face.

"One thing he has got is a winning mentality. He has got great belief in what we are doing here.

"His first leap against Peter Crouch just shows you the fitness and power he still has.

"When he goes up for corners he looks like he can score. I think we have got a player who is very hungry still to do well.

"He respects everything about this great club, it is a huge privilege for him to be here. He is here to perform and do well.

"He is certainly a character and offers great leadership on the field, which is primarily what we got with Carra."

Liverpool will look to build on their impressive performance against the Potters as they travel to Aston Villa.

Villa struggled for most of last season but avoided relegation after a strong finish and have started the new campaign positively, beating Arsenal and troubling Chelsea.

"It is their first game at home," said Rodgers. "They'll be looking to perform well and it will be tough. They are a real threat going forward.

"But with the form we are in, and the mentality and confidence of the players, it should be a really good game."


From Belfast Telegraph