Aly Cissokho has leapt to the defence of under-fire Liverpool team-mate Kolo Toure after a couple of costly errors from the Ivorian.
Toure was at fault for West Brom’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns earlier this month, and the centre-half scored a comical own goal to leave his side trailing after eight minutes at rock-bottom Fulham on Wednesday.
Liverpool recovered from that early setback but Toure’s displays have attracted criticism as Brendan Rodgers’ side try to keep pace in the Premier League title race.
Frenchman Cissokho, however, has no doubt as to Toure’s ability and he hailed the 32-year-old’s impact on his own development, particularly as the former Manchester City man can speak French.
“Kolo has been a big influence on me,” the left-back said in quotes reported by The Independent.
“He has marked my card on many occasions. For example, he told me what to expect when we went to play Stoke at the Britannia. He explained to me it would be windy, the ball would be in the air all the time and I’d be up against big, strong lads.
“There are a lot of youngsters in the squad and people like Kolo and Steven Gerrard are very important, especially in the middle of a match. They are a voice out on the park, telling us to slow things down or play a longer game.
“Simon Mignolet also speaks French and that’s important for me because I’ve got Kolo alongside me and Mignolet in goal behind me.
“Sometimes, you do have to react quickly and then your first thoughts will be in French and it helps if you can shout it out to someone near you.”
Liverpool travel to Arsenal in the FA Cup on Sunday, with both clubs also harbouring ambitions of a title push, and Cissokho is expecting a tough test despite having hammered Arsene Wenger’s men 5-1 last weekend.
“Their run of form isn’t that impressive but Arsene Wenger is very experienced at handling these big games,” he added.
“We have to make sure we profit from their slight drop in form and not allow them to develop their game, not allow them to pass the ball or feel comfortable.”