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Monday, 26 August 2013 00:00

Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 1: Brendan Rodgers hails Kolo Toure as Daniel Sturridge strike secures Villa Park victory

Defender stars as Reds grind out three points from tricky fixture
by Simon Williams at Villa Park

Football: Just two games into the new Premier League season Liverpool’s capture of Kolo Toure on a free transfer is already looking to be one of the shrewdest signings of this transfer window.

The former Manchester City and Arsenal defender has been instrumental in helping the Reds to victories in their opening two league games for the first time in five years.

Speaking after a superb Daniel Sturridge goal secured a 1-0 win at Villa Park on Saturday, Brendan Rodgers hailed the impact of the Ivorian since his arrival on Merseyside.

He said: “Kolo is a really experienced defender and I needed to replace Jamie Carragher who’s been a brilliant player for Liverpool.

“I felt that the team needed someone with experience and Kolo gives you that, he’s got a real winning mentality.

“He’s really clever in his marking, he’s not rash, he’s a top defender and at 32 years of age he’s been brilliant since he’s come into the club.”

Liverpool dominated the game in the opening exchanges and took the lead on 21 minutes with a wonderfully worked goal.

Jose Enrique’s ball in from the left was beautifully dummied by Philippe Coutinho before Sturridge pulled away from Antonio Luna, rounded goalkeeper Brad Guzan and poked the ball high into the net.

The striker has now netted eight times in his last seven Premier League appearances as well as two in two matches this season, as he leads the Liverpool line in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez.

And Rodgers believes that the striker, who signed from Chelsea during last season’s January transfer window, is starting to prove himself as one of the Premier League’s top marksmen.

“Daniel is a player, I believe, who will prove that when he is fit and playing to be one of the top striker in this division,” said Rodgers.

“He’s got all the attributes — super quick, wonderful touch, great mover and you see his finish and composure there.

“He just needed an opportunity. I saw him from when he was a young player and he’s had a couple of difficult moves but it’s just about providing him the opportunity.

“He’s really grown into the club since he came in January. His goals per game record is terrific so far and he needs to keep working, keep his focus and he’ll do very well I’m sure.”

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