Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers explains Kolo Toure was selected ahead of Dejan Lovren for Arsenal defeat due to his 'commitment'

Lovren joined Liverpool last summer for £20m but has made just 16 Premier League starts this season and was left on the bench for the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Brendan Rodgers has revealed the reasons why he decided to start Kolo Toure instead of £20m summer signing Dejan Lovren for Saturday’s humbling 4-1 defeat to Arsenal.

Toure endured a torrid return to his former club as he was horribly exposed alongside Mamadou Sakho, who himself put in a very questionable performance. Croatia international Lovren had been ruled out of the recent international break having suffered an abdominal injury, but he was passed fit for the trip to the Emirates only to be left out of the starting XI.

With Martin Skrtel beginning his three-match ban for his stamp on Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, Rodgers had to decide who to hand a rare start to between Toure and Lovren, with the Ivorian getting the nod.

 

In his Monday press conference, Rodgers revealed why he elected to start with the experienced of Toure as opposed to Lovren, and appeared to suggest that it was the 34-year-old’s commitment in training that put him ahead in the pecking order.

“The thing with Kolo is he gives me everything every single day so I know what I am going to get with him,” Rodgers

“Dejan was obviously out over the international break but now he is fighting well and looking strong. He will be in contention for the Cup game for sure.”

Kolo-Toure.jpg
Toure didn't enjoy the best of games during the 4-1 defeat to Arsenal

Rodgers went on to try and explain why Liverpool’s summer signings have not worked out, claiming that the “adaptation” to playing for a club like Liverpool had clearly not gone to plan. The Northern Irishman also said how this process had been seen in the past, though that could also be read as failure in the transfer window over a number of seasons, rather than just isolating it to the current campaign.

“You can be a very good player and not hit it off for some reason or it just takes time, like Lucas Leiva. It didn’t quite happen for him early on in his Liverpool career but he ended up doing well and the supporters appreciate the role he plays. It’s just unfortunate because these players need time and you don’t get that in modern football. We had a big influx of players coming in last summer so it was always going to be difficult for them all to hit it off straight away but I think you can see the progress that has been made. It just takes a bit of time.”

The recent defeats have seen Rodgers’ tactical decisions called into question with his preferred 3-4-2-1 formation coming under scrutiny amid suggestions that it has been “worked out”. Arsenal appeared to take a wider approach to attacking Liverpool’s back-three, something that Manchester United utilised as well when they beat the Reds before the international break.

Brendan-Rodgers2.jpg
Rodgers reacts during Liverpool's defeat to Arsenal

But Rodgers dismissed the claim, and put the blame on how his players are using the ball rather than what they’re doing without it. He demanded more pace on the ball in order to turn their possession into attacking opportunities, something that featured during their run of eight victories in 10 Premier League games.

“Our possession just hasn’t been good enough recently, that has been the key to it,” Rodgers exaplained.

“We need to build the game quickly but it has been too slow and there is no excuse at The Emirates as the pitch is wonderful. It wasn’t just against Arsenal and Manchester United, it was the same in the first half of the Swansea game. The speed of our game hasn’t quite been there, the speed of our passing.

“Against Man United we gave the ball away too often and there was too much space. The Arsenal game we didn’t start well, we got back into it but then defended poorly. I don’t think it was anything to do with the system, we just didn’t pass the ball quick enough. We also had a number of important players missing on Saturday, we have to remind ourselves of that.”

Emre-Can2.jpg
Can was sent-off for two bookings against Arsenal

Liverpool will need to put it right quickly, with the FA Cup sixth round replay against Blackburn coming tomorrow night with a Wembley semi-final against Aston Villa on offer to the winner. There’s no guarantee that Lovren will return to the starting line-up though, as Glen Johnson could be considered given Emre Can’s red card against Arsenal that will see him miss the game through suspension. With Skrtel and Gerrard already suspended, Rodgers is having to make do with what he’s got available, though that doesn’t quite seem to be the case when it comes to Lovren.

Comments