No Further Defensive Reinforcements on Tap for Liverpool This Summer?

Thananuwat Srirasant

The arrival of Kolo Toure on a free earlier in the summer was initially thought of as a signing for depth rather than the starting eleven, but Brendan Rodgers now appears to view the veteran defender as first-choice.

After the early summer weeks were spent expecting a number of defensive reinforcements, links to the primary targets have cooled, with only Kolo Toure arriving to this point to bolster Liverpool's defense. His arrival appeared to be the first of a few, as Kyriakos Papadopoulos was reported to be following the former Arsenal and Manchester City defender to Anfield. With concerns about cost and fitness, the club are apparently no longer in for the Greek defender, and there haven't been any other concrete links to discuss, with Tiago Ilori falling off the radar as well. According to Brendan Rodgers, that isn't anything to be worried about, as Toure's fitness and form could see him earn a starting spot.

Speaking ahead of Liverpool's final match of the preseason tour in Bangkok, Rogers was full of praise for Toure, and also picked out the other central defenders in the group to underline the depth available whether or not further additions arrive:

"Defensively, I think we'll be fine. Kolo has been terrific since he came in here. He may be 32 years of age but he's super fit and in great condition. He's a player who has looked after himself all his life. His age is no barrier and he's someone with a winning mentality. He's someone we felt could come in and support the group with his experience and his qualities.

"I've looked at him over the course of his career and watched him a lot last year. Having seen him first hand since he joined the club, he will be very good for us this season. We have a number of other outstanding centre-halves in Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel. We also have an up-and-coming top talent in Andre Wisdom who will be a very good centre-half for Liverpool in the future. And we still have Sebastian Coates too."

It's a prospect that won't sit well with many; as a signing for depth Toure was quite good, but as the first-choice partner of Agger for the coming season it might be a bit underwhelming. If Skrtel uses the competition with Toure to regain form and a starting berth the club's pursuit of a longer-term replacement can be pushed off a year, but for the season ahead there's still major questions about how effective either can be. With loan deals discussed for both Wisdom--who might yet force himself into the first-team picture sooner rather than later--and Coates, that leaves the central defensive picture slightly more worrisome than it was earlier in the summer, even if there's more than a month left in the window.

I still remain adamant that heading into the season with Toure alongside Agger isn't the worst-case scenario, especially if his form warrants it. Good is good regardless of the name or pricetag (a sentiment best captured by HDS in the comments a week or so ago), and if Kolo Toure proves good enough, then there's no lack of ambition or acceptance of mediocrity. There's a central defender doing a job alongside the likely vice-captain, and if that helps push Liverpool forward, then we can be the ones handing Kolo our approval.

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