Kolo Toure omission was Rodgers’ biggest mistake in last two Liverpool games

Brendan Rogers Press Conference Smiling - 16/02/2014

Kolo Toure deserved to keep his place for Liverpool following his heroics in Spain.

Although Liverpool lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League there was much to be positive about, not least the performance of defender Kolo Toure.

The Ivory Coast international has received his fair share of criticism since arriving at Anfield but against the reigning European champions he was simply superb, keeping Cristiano Ronaldo at bay and staking a very good claim to remain in the side.

But that was not to be, with Toure back on the bench for the league defeats to Chelsea and Crystal Palace, while Dejan Lovren looked anything but the £16million defender Rodgers believed he was signing from Southampton.

The Liverpool boss can be accused of making plenty of mistakes this season, but not continuing with Toure after his outstanding showing in the Bernabeu is his most glaring in the last fortnight.

After all, surely you pick players on form not reputation and Liverpool’s apparent first-choice centre-backs had looked anything but secure for some time. So when Toure strode defiantly out in the Spanish capital and did what he did, he was showing Rodgers he still has it…and so he proved.

It will be a controversial statement and one not everyone agrees with given his age and former defensive indiscretions, but Toure should have played the last two matches ahead of Lovren, just as Mario Balotelli should have been dropped weeks ago. 

Liverpool’s malaise will not be solved by persevering with the same stars who are not currently justifying that description.

Perhaps Liverpool would have lost their last two matches even if Toure had played, but if he can keep arguably the best player in the world in his pocket, why not the likes of Diego Costa and Dwight Gayle as well?

Instead the manager sent out a message - however unintentional - that giving your best performance in years will not guarantee you anything more than a place on the bench and that players would be stuck by even when they had seemingly exhausted their chances.

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