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Toure: Chelsea need right mentality


Liverpool centre-back Kolo Toure claims fringe players gained motivation from criticism of the team

Liverpool centre-back Kolo Toure claims fringe players gained motivation from criticism of the team

Liverpool centre-back Kolo Toure claims fringe players gained motivation from criticism of the team

Liverpool defender Kolo Toure believes unbeaten Premier League leaders Chelsea will have to prove their mental toughness if they are to match the achievement of the Arsenal 'Invincibles' side he was part of 10 years ago.

Jose Mourinho's team have a four-point cushion at the top of the table and could extend the gap further in Saturday's early kick-off at Anfield.

The season is only 10 matches old and Toure said there is a long way to go before the Stamford Bridge club can think about emulating the Gunners' formidable 2003-04 season.

"They have a good team and with the squad they have of course they can do it," he said.

"But it's not the only quality. It is about mentality. Every game is challenging and sometimes things don't go well for you but you need to be able to come back and carry on fighting.

"The season has just started. We will see. It's a great chance (for Liverpool to end the unbeaten run) but the most important thing is we want to win the game."

The roles were somewhat reversed last April when Chelsea arrived at Anfield, with Liverpool top of the table and seemingly on course for their first title since 1990.

However, things quickly unravelled as Mourinho's tactical masterclass saw the visitors stifle their free-flowing opponents with a disciplined defensive display which centred around getting men behind the ball and hitting on the counter-attack.

Steven Gerrard's slip to allow Demba Ba to race through and break the deadlock just before half-time has been translated into a song which far from being a Chelsea fans' favourite is sung at grounds around the country when the former England captain is in town.

Willian added a late second to spell the beginning of the end of the Merseysiders' title dream and Liverpool are looking for revenge.

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What may help them this time around is the expectation Chelsea, as league leaders and with summer signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas in sparkling form, will not come to kill the game.

"It is a very important game when you think what they did to us last season," said Toure, whose defensive performance in the 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Bernabeu has put him in contention to start at the expense of £20million summer signing Dejan Lovren.

"That cost us the league and now we have the chance to beat them. I can't wait for that honestly.

"Every game for Liverpool you want to win and Chelsea are playing well now.

"When you play at home in a game like that it is going to be attacking teams. Chelsea attack and Liverpool attack as well. I think you are going to see a great game.

"This season they will attack, with the players they have they can't defend (all the time).

"I think they will just try to score goals and we will try to score goals."

Most of Liverpool's big names are expected to return at the weekend but Rodgers was impressed by the performance of some fringe players in the Bernabeu and suggested those who were benched should not automatically assume they will earn a recall.

Midfielder Joe Allen, who started both matches against Madrid either side of two Premier League starts, insists players accept regular changes are part of modern-day football.

"Sometimes you can't win with a squad rotation policy but it is the only way with the demands we have and the added games we have this season," he said,

"That is definitely going to get us the best results over the course of a full season.

"It was obviously a big aim for the club in the summer to recruit and get the bigger squad to deal with the demands of being in the Champions League as well as the Premier League.

"You can see the quality we have throughout and everyone is competing for a spot, and that is exactly what you need if you want to be successful."

The Wales midfielder also believes their Madrid experience will be beneficial facing Chelsea.

"When you compete against the best teams and you perform the way we did there are elements of it which will certainly help us," he added.

"Parts of that performance will hold us in good stead going into the Chelsea game.

"They have started the season very well but they have to come to Anfield and we know if we bring our 'A' game we can compete against anyone in the league."

Allen said it was important to put April's encounter behind them.

"I think sometimes as a player you feel like you are owed one I guess and it wasn't easy (for us) for them to come and take the three points off us, but we can't focus too much on last season," he said.

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