Kolo Toure welcomes competition for places at Liverpool from Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori
The Reds made some deadline day purchases for the back
Thursday 12 September 2013
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure admits he is spurred on by the extra competition provided by fellow new signings Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori.
Following his summer arrival the Ivorian slotted seamlessly into the void left by the retirement of Jamie Carragher at the end of last season.
However, with Sakho and Ilori coming in late in the transfer window from Paris St Germain and Sporting Lisbon manager Brendan Rodgers' centre-back options have been bolstered further.
And when Toure missed the victory over Manchester United a fortnight ago through injury the out-of-favour Martin Skrtel produced an impressive performance in his first appearance of the campaign.
It means a number of players are now fighting it out to partner new vice-captain Daniel Agger in central defence but Toure is not worried by the prospect.
"It's fantastic. It has increased the competition and everybody has to work really hard every day," said the 32-year-old.
"That is the only way we can make the team better and I'm glad we have signed two very good players.
"We know all about Mamadou Sakho, he is a very good player. Tiago has also come in from Portugal and is a really good defender as well.
"The competition will be really tough and we need to work extra hard. Nobody will be expecting to play, we'll all have to fight, but I love the competition."
Toure knows he was signed by Rodgers after his release from Manchester City because of the experience he can bring to the team.
He hopes to use that to his advantage as the battle for places heats up.
"I will always bring my experience," Toure told liverpoolfc.com.
The competition will be fair and I will help them (his team-mates) when they need it.
"We work as a team but I will do my best to show the manager I can keep my place," he said.
"I enjoy the responsibility. With the experience I have, I can help them and show them the way."
Striker Daniel Sturridge could be fit for the resumption of the Reds' Premier League campaign against Swansea on Monday.
The 24-year-old, who despite struggling with a thigh injury scored the winner against United almost a fortnight ago, had to pull out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine because of injury.
Sturridge has been undergoing rehabilitation at the club's Melwood training ground ever since but is not scheduled to train for the first time until tomorrow.
However, Press Association Sport understands Liverpool remain optimistic about his progress and believe the forward, who has scored in each of their opening three league matches to fire the Reds to the top of the table, has a good chance of facing Michael Laudrup's side.
Rodgers is likely to make a decision on whether to include the England international, who has five goals in four appearances this season and has scored 16 in 20 matches since joining from Chelsea in January, late on at the weekend.
There is slightly better news concerning Glen Johnson, who limped off with an ankle injury against United.
Despite reports he could be out for 10 to 12 weeks Liverpool did not put a timescale on his recovery but it seems the diagnosis is more positive.
"Injury doesn't seem as bad as first thought, hopefully be back sooner than originally expected! £BetterNews," the England international wrote on Twitter.
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