By Dennis Mabuka
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has singled out Liverpool as the biggest threat in their quest to reclaim the English Premier League title from rivals Manchester United.
Toure says that Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United cannot be written off, but Brendan Rodgers’ Anfield side are on form and could prove difficult to dislodge if they take command at the summit.
“I must admit that we have a tough battle ahead to reclaim Premiership crown. We must work extra hard as a team to compete with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United. United will find it hard to defend the title since they have a new manager David Moyes and are really struggling.
“Liverpool are a big threat at the moment because they have a strong squad and their strikers – Luiz Suarez and Daniel Sturridge - are scoring goals at will,” Toure told Goal.
Toure, who was unveiled on Tuesday at the UN Headquarters’, Gigiri in Nairobi, Kenya as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador, hailed the impact already made by Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama since joining Southampton from Scottish giants Celtic at the start of the season.
“Obviously there is more to where such talents come from. The older players Oliech (Dennis) and (Mariga) Macdonald are excellent but Wanyama is the finished product. I have watched him play and can testify he is an exceptional player,” added the 2011 and 2012 Africa Player of the Year.
Toure, whose side lost 1-2 to Chelsea in the league on Sunday, said he will be looking forward to facing on form Southampton. “They are a team on top of things at the moment and I look forward to playing against them. Wanyama has been a great inspiration to the team.
“You see the manner Southampton is playing all round within a very good defensive record. You've got to give it to Wanyama and the new players. They have certainly given the team power and strength to tackle the league.”
The softly spoken Ivorian did not want to comment on England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart, who has made a few mistakes recently. “I am not allowed to make comments about my fellow players. All I can say he is a top keeper who gives his all to the team. As a team we are determined to fight and win the title."
Toure said he predicts that the national teams that represent Africa in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will perform better this time around, owing to the high level of qualification standards that were placed by world football governing body Fifa and Africa’s federation Caf.
The 30 year-old midfielder, who surprised many recently by saying that if racism is not stopped in football then African players should boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia, added to the subject by saying, "There is no room for racism in modern football. Such vices must be condemned at all cost. I will not shy away from voicing my concerns.”