Liverpool’s Kolo Toure on his ‘salmon tackle,’ Arsenal’s implosion and brother Yaya

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Kolo Toure has featured in just three league games this term but Liverpool have won all three

The moment also introduced a new phrase to football’s lexicon, one which sits nicely alongside Rene Higuita’s Scorpion Kick.

“Jose Enrique called it, ‘The salmon tackle’,” said Toure, dissolving into laughter as he recalls his intervention in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

“This tackle if I had to make it again I would make it. I am proud of it. It is a new gesture in football! But I would give everything for my team to win.

“When you are a defender at a top club every challenge is so important. That is why you play for big clubs, you have to fight every single day and that doesn’t start at kick-off. That starts at training.

“Every single day you have to give everything to be the best you can be and then, when you step out for the game, it is much more easy.”

Notwithstanding Liverpool’s 1-0 win at The Britannia Stadium, Toure’s willingness to put his body firmly on the line could hardly have come at a better time.

Liverpool have been decimated by injuries at centre-back with Dejan Lovren having suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the game to join Mamadou Sakho and Martin Skrtel on the sidelines.

Toure ended with Lucas as a makeshift defensive partner and with cramp shooting up his leg which at one point looked as if it would prompt his substitution as well.

Little wonder that manager Jurgen Klopp’s delight at the Ivory Coast international’s contribution extended beyond the obligatory bear hug at the final whistle.

“He just took a picture of me in the ice bath and made a few laughs,” said Toure, who saw Klopp sign Steven Caulker on loan to bolster his options.

“He knows I am a fighter, who gives 100 per cent and that any time he needs me I will step in and give my best for the team.

“I am playing for one of the best clubs in the world at the age of 34 and there are not many players who can say that.

“I want to play every week, but when you get to this age there are young players whom clubs need to promote a little bit more which is normal.

“So I have to make the most of every second I am out there and for my team as well. I could not give up and leave the team on their own at this time of the game (against Stoke) because we had so many injured players.

“I managed to finish the game as a striker. It was not bad.”

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Kolo Toure has featured mostly in cup competitions this term in the Capital One Cup & Europa League

Toure is set to return to his favoured position when former club Arsenal arrive at Anfield on Wednesday. Arsene Wenger’s side are looking to remain at the summit of the Premier League and win their first title since 2004 when Toure was part of their Invincibles side.

It was a squad tipped to dominate English football, yet Toure goes along with the prescribed view that moving to from Highbury to The Emirates derailed Wenger’s plans.

“I am not inside any more, but there has been a lot of change,” said Toure. “A lot of players left the club, guys like Patrick Vieira, leaders left the club and it was quite difficult.

“Robert Pires was a top player. Thierry Henry left and sometimes you need experience at the club and then a young player can learn. That is one of the things.

“But this policy started when they started the new stadium. Everything changed. They needed to sell some players, cut the wage bill.

“Arsene is a top manager. The thing I like is this manager can make an average player one of the best players in the world. He did that with so many players.

“George Weah, Patrick Vieira was in Milan and not playing a lot. Thierry Henry was at Juventus and he brought him here and made him one of the best players in the world.

“He did that with so many players. He made a lot of players into top players. He did that with me because I started from nowhere. He took me to the next level and I always respect him for that.”

There is a sense of perspective and calm when Toure speaks that is not always evident when brother, Yaya, passes comment if recent days are an accurate barometer.

The Manchester City midfielder was overlooked as African Player of the Year last week for Borussia Dortmund’s Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and immediately labelled the decision “pathetic.”

Mere mention of Yaya induces another fit of the giggles.

“Have I spoken to him? No. I think he would be angry with me as well,” said Kolo. Yet he proceeds to offer a revealing insight into his younger brother.

“Yaya,” he says. “He is a good player, but some of them, like Eric Cantona, are strong willed. I think that is how he is. He is a winner and when he doesn’t win everything goes crazy a little bit.

“For me he deserved that award. You can’t be fourth and fifth in the world and then don’t win African Player of the Year.

“As well we won the African Cup of Nations and that is why he was expecting to win. Yaya’s reaction is because he is a winner. I know deep inside him he is a nice guy.

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Yaya Toure netted five times in the league this term

“I saw so many comments but I think the football world pushes him to do things that are not really him. He says some things that he doesn’t need to say because other people can say it. I can say that for him and I said I was disappointed because he didn’t win.

“When you are a player you have to learn to be more relaxed. When you win, it is fun. When you lose, it is ok. This is life.”

Given the ‘Kolo-Yaya’ song that persuaded Steven Gerrard to show off his dance skills in the summer, and became a staple chant among the crowd at the World Darts’ Championship last week, their popularity is not waning.

“Unbelievable,” says Toure of the song. “I am so proud and so happy and one day we have to do it. I love what the fans are doing, they have to keep doing it and I am so proud.

“I am not from this country but I love this country and feel part of it. Yaya is the same.”

Toure is out of contract in the summer and Liverpool’s interest in Schalke’s Joel Matip suggests they are planning for life without him.

Yet he has not given up hope just yet of remaining at Anfield.

“I would love to stay,” he adds. “That is why I made the salmon tackle.”

His rolling laughter fills the room again.

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