- LocationBouake, Ivory Coast
- Squad Number4
Highly experienced defender Kolo Toure became Liverpool’s fourth signing of the 2013 summer transfer window when he completed a free transfer from Manchester City.
The Ivorian began his career with native club ASEC Mimosas before Arsene Wenger’s scouts discovered the versatile player in Africa and engineered a move to English football with Arsenal.
Liverpool were the opponents when Toure – then considered a midfielder capable of breaking forward – made his first Arsenal appearance as a late substitute in the 2002 FA Community Shield victory over the Reds.
Capable of playing at centre-back and right-back, the powerful international was used as a utility player with the Gunners during the 2002-03 campaign and watched from the bench when the Londoners lifted the FA Cup at the end of that season.
But 2003-04 proved to be the most remarkable period of Toure’s professional career; established at the heart of Arsenal’s defence alongside Sol Campbell, he started 36 of the club’s 38 Barclays Premier League fixtures as Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ completed the season without defeat.
When the Gunners returned to Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2005 for another FA Cup showpiece, Kolo was this time included in the starting XI and played the full 120 minutes as Arsenal eventually triumphed over Manchester United on penalties.
The defender, who is comfortable in bringing the ball out of defence and distributing to teammates, was then an integral factor in Arsenal’s journey to the 2006 Champions League final; Toure scored the crucial winning goal in the semi-final, although disappointment followed in losing to Barcelona.
It was the second time Toure had fallen at the ultimate hurdle that year – alongside brother Yaya the Ivory Coast international helped his country reach the African Cup of Nations final in February. Kolo converted his penalty in the shootout against Egypt but the Ivorians were defeated.
Toure made two appearances at the World Cup in the summer of 2006 but his nation were eliminated at the group stage; they suffered the same fate four years later in South Africa, when he featured in three fixtures.
He continued as a key first-team member at Arsenal until 2009 – clocking up 225 league games in the process – before ambitious Manchester City came knocking. A big-money move was sealed in July that year.
Kolo quickly settled into the first team at the Etihad Stadium and began the side’s successful 2010-11 FA Cup quest; he missed the victorious final against Stoke, however, after being banned from football for six months following a failed drugs test.
With increased competition for places upon his return to competitive action, Toure was limited to 14 appearances – six as a substitute – when the Manchester club were dramatically crowned champions of England in 2012.
Success on the international stage continued to elude him, though; Ivory Coast were again denied Africa Cup of Nations glory in 2012 after losing another final shoot-out, this time against Zambia.
A total of 15 more top-flight matches followed for Kolo but the Ivorian revealed his intention not to sign a fresh contract extension before his deal with City ended in the summer.
That decision allowed Brendan Rodgers – searching for defensive experience after the retirement of Jamie Carragher – to swoop for the centre-back, who put pen to paper for the Reds on July 2, 2013.
After travelling on the Reds’ summer tour of Indonesia, Australia and Thailand, Toure then made his competitive debut for the club in a 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory over Stoke in August 2013.
Toure made 24 appearances for Liverpool in his first season with the club and added a further 21 the following campaign.
In his two years at Anfield Toure has become something of a cult figure – proving popular with the Kop faithful.
Toure finally achieved international success in February 2015 when he was part of the Ivory Coast side that won the African Cup of Nations. The victory was especially sweet for Toure as one of the remaining members of his country’s so called ‘golden generation’, who had so often come close to glory in the competition.
In May 2015, the Reds announced he had signed a contract extension with the club to prolong his Anfield stay.