Liverpool look to replace Carragher experience with free agent

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Kolo Toure may not be the most eye-catching signing of the entire summer transfer window, but his capture on a free transfer could prove one of the shrewdest by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

An experienced central defender was always going to be needed after the retirement of Jamie Carragher and Toure has spent over a decade in the Premier League, which includes a title.

Opportunities at Manchester City have been scarce across the last two seasons, which leads to the suggestion that he is not as good as maybe he once was at Arsenal.

However, Toure is still only 32 and so has at least a couple of years at Premier League level, while there should be a hunger and desire in him to prove that he still has plenty to give.

The fact that Carragher started for much of the season should also boost Toure’s prospects as it suggests that he is not simply swapping a dugout in Manchester for one in Liverpool.

Although he has slowed down a little, Toure’s pace remains his main attribute and he was much better suited at Arsenal when partnered by a more physical and aerially dominant defender in Sol Campbell.

This is in comparison to William Gallas, who never really struck up that solidarity with Toure as the pair were largely similar defenders.

Martin Skrtel’s struggles to break into the Liverpool first team this season means that Toure has a great chance of partnering Daniel Agger at the heart of the Liverpool defence and it could work that the Dane goes to attack the first ball, with Toure sweeping up behind.

The expected capture of Toure should also save Liverpool a hefty sum of money as there is not quite the desperation to pay inflated prices for other central defenders.

Swansea’s Ashley Williams and Toby Alderweireld of Ajax were two names heavily linked, but both would cost at least £10m and probably a touch more, with the latter previously said to be signing for Roma.

Instead, Liverpool are set to target Sporting Lisbon youngster Tiago Ilori to fill the role of back-up defender.

Failing to beat any of the top four home or away was one reason Liverpool failed to challenge for a Champions League place this season, but Toure could help in this regard and it is 13/8 that they do finish in the top four in the next campaign.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.