Toure: No shock to see Liverpool top
Nicol: Man City vs Liverpool has goals written all over it
Yaya Toure said it is no surprise to see Liverpool leading the Premier League and believes it was only a matter of time before they returned to the top.
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Brendan Rodgers’ side were 12th at this stage of last season and finished the campaign seventh but spent Christmas at the summit of the top flight. Manchester City midfielder Toure, whose brother Kolo is part of Rodgers’ squad, will face them at the Etihad Stadium on Boxing Day and insists it is no shock they are doing so well.
He said: “People shouldn’t be surprised to see them at the top. They have always been a big club, and maybe it is a surprise that they haven’t been up there for a few years. But these clubs always return, and that’s what is happening at Liverpool. They have some good players around the team: [Daniel] Sturridge, my brother Kolo, [Steven] Gerrard, [Luis] Suarez.”
Kolo Toure spent four years as at City player and may be on the bench for Liverpool but his younger brother hopes he starts.
He added: “It will be great. We are looking forward to it. He is my brother and an important guy. He did great things at City, but moving to Liverpool has been good for him too. He has shown he is still a great player and a great man. He was one of the main reasons I came to England and to City three years ago and I am thankful to him for that. But it will be strange for us to be opponents.”
Toure believes it is a shame City are without their prolific striker Sergio Aguero, who has a calf injury, in a match that will feature the division’s top scorer Suarez, who has struck 19 goals in his last 12 league games.
And the 30-year-old added: “Suarez is a brilliant player, and this season he is at the top. Him and Aguero are the best strikers in England, no question, and are up there as the best in the world too.
“It would have been fantastic to see them on the same pitch in this game. Suarez has everything in his game at the moment. But Liverpool are a team with other good players too and a good manager. It will be a big, big game.”
Toure also hailed Manuel Pellegrini for bringing the best out of City’s many attacking talents. City are the top scorers in the Premier League after striking 51 times in their 17 matches and Toure, who has nine goals to his name, believes Pellegrini deserves the credit for the fine form of their star players.
Sergio Aguero scored 18 times in his last 16 games before getting injured while Samir Nasri, who endured a difficult season under Roberto Mancini last year, has returned to his best.
He said: “He can keep every player at the top level of their games. We have Samir on the top of his game again, and [David] Silva and Aguero. It is unbelievable when these guys are all playing at their best in the team together.
“I can say that Pellegrini is a top manager. He gives everyone confidence and respects everyone. He comes close to the players and talks to them. Every player wants confidence and [a] chat with the manager and [to] get advice from him. Pellegrini is doing really well in that respect. It’s not easy to have time for everyone as you have a squad of 30 players. But he gives everyone confidence, whether they are in the starting 11 or not.”
Toure added that the aim this season is to secure silverware and believes City are capable of lifting two trophies this year.
He said: “Any trophy will be very welcome, we are chasing them. We want to be a top club, but to do that we have to win trophies. But to be honest, with the team we have and the manager we have, nothing will surprise me if we win more than one.”