Players must keep courage of passing game
Kolo Toure has urged Liverpool to regain the “courage” to play their passing game after the dismal end to their unbeaten start to the season.
And Toure has revealed how Luis Suarez has shown in training he is itching to be thrown back into the first team this week.
Liverpool suffered their first defeat since March when they slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against Southampton on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers’ weakened side struggled to make any impression on the match once Dejan Lovren headed the only goal eight minutes after the interval.
And Toure pointed the finger at a lack of bravery from the team in sticking to the principles that had previously taken them to the top of the Premier League table.
“We haven’t been positive,” said the centre-back. “We haven’t been playing the ball, passing the ball out of the back, having the courage to take the responsibility to pass the ball.
“That’s what we need to do. For the four previous games we have been passing the ball, working hard and working hard to get the ball back.
“We didn’t do that on Saturday. We should be doing that.”
Liverpool began the match with four centre-backs in defence – Toure employed at right-back while new signing Mamadou Sakho was at left-back – and struggled to make any inroads against a well-organised Saints backline.
Rodgers’ side missed the ingenuity of injured schemer Philippe Coutinho but Toure added: “He’s a big player for us, yes. But we have players who can do a job too. And as a group we didn’t do that.
“We didn’t start the game well as a team, we couldn’t pass the ball like we have been doing and we couldn’t lift our pace. We didn’t do well to concede a goal at a set-piece. We will learn from that mistake.
“It’s a setback, but the season is long. You are going to have up and down moments, but what’s important is how you react. And we have a big game coming up on Wednesday.”
That game is against Manchester United in a blockbusting Capital One Cup third round tie at Old Trafford.
It will be Suarez’s first game available having at the weekend served the last match of his 10-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in April.
And Toure expects the Uruguayan to hit the ground running and form a potent partnership with Daniel Sturridge, who on Saturday failed to score in a match for the first time this season.
“Suarez is a fantastic player,” said the 32-year-old. “He’s a top striker who can score a goal at any time. But we’ve had Daniel Sturridge playing so well for us.
“Suarez will strengthen the team. The two of them will be a very strong partnership. Mobile and very strong. But it’s important to have a strong group, not just individuals.
“Suarez has been very difficult to defend in training. Very difficult. I’m sure he will be ready to be thrown back in. You saw from his international appearance the other week, in the first game he’d played for a while he scored twice (for Uruguay).
“That just shows how strong with guy is. His return is going to be massive for us, definitely.
“He is a winner. He wants to win. He’s always working hard and fighter. You want those kind of players. That’s what we were doing at the start of the season. We need to do that again.”
Toure added: “United is the ideal game for us after Saturday. I’ve played at Old Trafford for Arsenal and City and hopefully now Liverpool.
“I used to dream about playing in games like that, and now I’m going to do everything to make sure we get a win.”