Ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final against Sevilla, Liverpool defender Kolo Toure talked about his hopes for ending his club career with a trophy, just as he had when he retired from international football after Cote d’Ivoire’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations triumph.
Toure certainly put in a performance worthy of lifting a trophy. Unfortunately for the veteran defender, many of his teammates crumbled under the pressure of a final and at the first sign of adversity. Still, Toure at least can hold his head high. And now he sounds as though he’s not so sure Wednesday will be his final game.
“I don’t know to be honest,” Toure said following the disheartening 3-1 defeat. “We will see what will happen and you will have to ask the manager. Of course I want to stay. It’s a great club to play at, but the manager has a plan and any decision I will respect. He’s a top manager and knows what he’s doing.”
There had been talk in the weeks leading up to the final that Toure’s reliable play in the spring would earn him a one-year deal from the club at the end of the season. When he spoke about winning a trophy in his last game for Liverpool, though, the message seemed clear. Even if it was then, it seems worth reconsidering.
Toure was Liverpool’s best player in the final, and has already shown he’s willing to work hard in training, to do what he can to help the younger players behind the scenes, and to be ready whenever he’s needed to fill in while understanding the role of a veteran fourth defender might in the end be to never start.
“We are devastated,” Toure added. “Everyone feels very low. We wanted to win that trophy for our supporters and we couldn’t do it. We played really well in the first half, Daniel scored a fantastic goal. Then we lost a bit of concentration at the start of the second. We could have done better on all of their goal.”
Wednesday night’s loss hurt, but if one good thing came out of it, it was that Toure, at 35 years of age, proved once again that he still has what it takes to make a positive contribution. Hopefully, whatever else happens over the summer, next season starts with him still in the Liverpool squad.