Kolo Toure thinks speculation over Brendan Rodgers’ future is “crazy” and has backed the Liverpool manager to turn things around at Anfield.
Liverpool slumped to 10th in the Premier League after their seventh and most damaging defeat of the season at the home of arch-rivals Manchester United on Sunday. Rodgers was hailed for taking Liverpool to within a whisker of the title last season, but he has come in for severe criticism of late.
Liverpool are 18 points shy of leaders Chelsea after Sunday’s 3-0 defeat and they also exited the Champions League at the first hurdle after recording just one win – against Bulgarian minnows Ludogorets.
Toure thinks the criticism of Rodgers has been harsh considering that he was just two points short of guiding Liverpool to their first title in 24 years last season.
“It’s crazy to even talk about his future,” the Liverpool defender said. “He’s a great manager and we all know that. Just look at how fantastic he did last season.”
Toure will forever be indebted to Rodgers for handing him an exit route from Manchester City, where he struggled to hold down a first-team place following a £16million move from Arsenal. He retains complete faith in the Northern Irishman and says the rest of the squad support their manager too.
“We’re all behind him and we’re all trying to make things better,” Toure said. “He’s a great manager. We all love him.
“He took me from City where I was not playing a lot and people were thinking ‘Kolo is gone’ and he gave me another chance by bringing me in to Liverpool and now I am playing at one of the best clubs in the world.
“I enjoy my football under him. I feel more young than ever now. He is a great manager and he makes us play football. We will all do our best to get him and the club out of this situation.”
Rodgers spent £117million in the summer, but none of the nine recruits have impressed so far and the Reds have greatly missed the injured Daniel Sturridge.
Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert have scored once between them in 1,265 minutes of Premier League action this season. Adam Lallana has struggled to find form after injury and his former Southampton team-mate Dejan Lovren has done nothing to justify the £20million fee Liverpool paid for him in the summer.
But given time, the players will start producing, Toure insists. “My message to the fans is this – keep believing,” he said. “I believe in this manager and I believe in this group of players. I know we will improve during the second half of the season.
“We have brought in new players, they need to adapt and that always takes time.
“It’s been a tough week for us with going out of the Champions League to Basle and then losing to United. But this is a good club and we bounce back all the time. We have to stick together and make sure we bounce back again. If we win one game then the confidence will come back.”
Liverpool face Arsenal next weekend and then have a run of winnable fixtures over the festive period against Burnley, Swansea, Leicester, Sunderland and Aston Villa.
But first they face the tricky task of defeating in-form Bournemouth in their Capital One Cup quarter-final clash on Wednesday. Eddie Howe’s team are unbeaten in 12 games, but Toure is looking forward to playing against the Championship team.
“The League Cup is a really important competition for us,” said Toure, who captained Arsenal to defeat in the 2007 final against Chelsea. “There’s the chance to get to Wembley and win a trophy. We have the quality to do that.”