Last week saw Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lure Schalke defender Joel Matip to Anfield after he signed a pre-contract agreement with the club. It has been argued that the move was a subtle sign to suggest their current centre-back Kolo Toure will not be handed a new deal when his contract runs out come the end of the season – a decision which has proved controversial recently.
With Martin Skrtel facing a setback in his return to action, the veteran defender has succeeded the vacant position of his Slovakian team-mate and earned the plaudits of the Anfield faithful. Toure, who is set to conclude his three-year spell with the Merseyside club, has impressed of late - leaving supporters urging Klopp to offer him a new deal.
Liverpool’s previous two games has seen them clinch back-to-back clean sheets, with the Ivorian at the heart of their defence.
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Surprisingly, the Reds’ 6-0 demolishing over strugglers Aston Villa last weekend saw Toure net his first goal in five years. And when Klopp’s side faced Augsburg four days later, the former Arsenal hero, yet again, produced a commanding performance, continuing to prove his worth in a Reds shirt.
After 11 years in England’s top flight prior to his move to Merseyside in 2013, Toure was an exciting addition to Brendan Rodgers’ side, filling the vacant role of retiring Jamie Carragher. Having won two league titles and three FA Cups, the Ivorian possesses the experience beneficial for Liverpool’s current young side – something that shouldn’t be taken away.
With Liverpool aiming for Europa League glory this season, what better way of fighting for the silverware than with a man who has already tasted regular European football, particularly Champions League. Toure, who featured in Europe’s top competition with Manchester City and Liverpool, also guided Arsenal to the 2006 final in Paris, scoring the decisive semi-final goal to send them there.
Putting aside that the Bouake-born defender is one of the most likeable players in the Liverpool camp, his playing ability is one of which Klopp should take advantage of.
His strength and determination is why the fans adore him so much. The fact that he picked up a hamstring injury against Stoke last month and continued to battle through the pain whilst Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren were forced off with the same problem earlier on proved his willpower.
Toure has arguably been the best centre-back in a Reds shirt this campaign and has provided the team with a captain-like role whilst nurturing the younger players – someone Jordan Henderson should learn from.
There’s no hesitation in saying Toure deserves a contract extension, not for the long-term, but maybe for next season. His recent form has undoubtedly shown he has more to offer at the Anfield club and is reluctant to receive his swansong anytime soon.
With him in the side next year, the Reds could return to the peak of the league standings, something that has proved a struggle recently, so Klopp must not make a decision he could soon regret.