Kolo Toure says the training methods of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp are very similar to those employed by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
Liverpool host Arsenal on Wednesday evening six points outside of the Premier League’s top four having won only five of 12 games since Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers.
However, impressive wins at Chelsea and Manchester City, plus a 6-1 demolition of Southampton in the Capital One Cup, provided evidence of the sort of football Klopp’s teams are capable of playing.
Toure says the German’s approach is similar to that of Wenger, who he worked under for seven seasons at Arsenal.
“The training we do is very similar to Arsenal,” Klopp told The Guardian. “They [Klopp and Arsène Wenger] have the same approach in terms of the speed of the game, the togetherness – a lot of passing, technically they like to have good players on the ball and the intensity of both their teams is amazing.”
Arsenal have bad memories of going to Anfield while top of the Premier League having done so in February 2014 but losing 5-1. Toure, however, believes his former club will be on their guard this time around.
“They will be worried about what happened a few years ago and will be much more focused from the first whistle,” Toure said.
“The 5-1 they didn’t start quite well and it was only during the game they realised how strong we were and that we could break any team. For sure, with what we have shown against City and Chelsea this season, I think they will come this time with more caution.”
Toure only won the Premier League title once with Arsenal, but the Ivory Coast defender still holds Wenger in the highest regard, adding: “When they started the new stadium everything changed.
“They needed to sell some players, cut the wage bill and they lost so many experienced players and leaders, but Wenger has shown what a top manager he is.
“The thing I like is this manager can make an average player one of the best players in the world. He did that with so many players. Patrick Vieira was in Milan but not playing a lot, Thierry Henry was a winger at Juventus and he made him one of the best players in the world.
“I started from nowhere and he took me to the next level and I always respect him for that.”
Toure happy to fight for Liverpool
Toure was added to the long injury list last week when he dived headfirst to stop a Xherdan Shaqiri cross in Liverpool’s Capital One Cup semi-final first-leg win at Stoke City, suffering cramp in the process but staying on until the final whistle.
The 34-year-old missed the FA Cup draw at Exeter as a result but is expected to start against Arsenal at Anfield.
His efforts to stop that Shaqiri cross were further proof of his willingness to fight for the cause, Toure says.
“José Enrique called it ‘The salmon tackle’. I am very proud of this. It’s something I have brought to football!
“That is the mentality you need to have as a defender; when you are a defender at a top club every challenge is so important.
“That’s why you play for the best club. If I have to make this tackle again I will make it. That was my time to show I can still produce for my team and for me as well.
“I had to stay on. You don’t want to give up and leave your team on their own at this time in a game. We had so many injuries and players going out, too, but to be honest it was only cramp. I managed to finish the game as a striker, which is not too bad.
“Afterwards the manager took a picture of me in the ice bath and made a few jokes. He knows I’m a fighter and that, whenever he needs me, I will step in and give my best for the team. I’m playing for one of the best clubs in the world at 34. Not many players can say that. I enjoy every minute and I am proud to be in this squad of players.”