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Kolo Toure retires, joins Celtic coaching staff

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36-year-old defender Kolo Toure announced his retirement on Friday, calling close to a 19-year career that featured stints at Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and most recently Celtic.

In the same release, the Ivory Coast international also announced he will join the Scottish club as a technical assistant, beginning his coaching career at the club he last played for.

“This is a new chapter in my career, a new beginning. The football is over now,” Toure said to the official Celtic website.  “I can officially say I am retired from playing and now I am fully concentrating on coaching.”

Toure will be working under Brendan Rodgers at Celtic, the man who also brought him to Liverpool in 2013. “This is great news for Celtic that we are able to bring a man of Kolo’s experience into our coaching team,” Rodgers said in the same release. “In everything he does, he is quite simply a fantastic example to anyone.”

“I can learn so much from working with Brendan Rodgers, he is a top manager,” Toure said of his new boss. “I will be working with him and his staff very closely each day. He is one of the best young managers in the world right now. What he’s doing for Celtic is there for all to see, he’s doing amazingly right now.”

The release describes that Toure will be a member of the first-team coaching staff, “supporting on all first-team coaching matters, as well as using his knowledge, experience and expertise to assist across the club’s various youth levels.”

Kolo Toure undergoing medical ahead of Rodgers reunion at Celtic

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Sky Sports reports that longtime Liverpool defender Kolo Toure has found a home under his former manager.

The 35-year-old center back was released by the Reds this summer, and is undergoing a medical ahead of joining Brendan Rodgers at Celtic.

[ MORE: Sunderland hires Moyes ]

Toure joined Liverpool from Manchester City in 2013, one year after Rodgers took the helm at Anfield.

The move would be Celtic’s second signing under Rodgers, as the Glasgow side added French forward Moussa Dembele from Fulham earlier this summer.

Aston Villa 0-6 Liverpool: Reds demolish out-of-sorts Villans in historic fashion

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  • Milner, Sturridge score early
  • Villa eight points off 17th place
  • Can scores great low goal in 59th
  • Most home goals allowed by Villa in PL history

Even Kolo Toure scored!

Six different Liverpool players scored a goal as Liverpool piled misery on Aston Villa with a 6-0 win at Villa Park on Sunday.

Daniel Sturridge, James Milner, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Clyne, Emre Can and Toure scored for the Reds.

The loss is Aston Villa’s first in five at home, and stops them from moving toward 19th place Sunderland.

The Villans are seven back of the Black Cats, and Liverpool pulls into eighth. The Reds sit three points back of fifth-place Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Sturridge’s celebratory dance was back on display, as he nodded down Coutinho’s cross to make it 1-0 in the 16th minute.

Milner’s free kick from the right slipped just over Mamadou Sakho‘s head but tricked Mark Bunn enough to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead after 25 minutes of play.

Villa was booed off the pitch at halftime after struggling to show any semblance of a comeback pulse.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool added a third on a counterattack, as Can picked up a square pass from Roberto Firmino and buried a low shot past Bunn.

Origi subbed on for Sturridge, and scored moments later. Twenty-seven seconds after the move, the Belgian buried a goal. Clyne netted a minute later to make it three goals conceded in less than seven minutes.

By the time Toure added his first goal in five years, it was clear this was an onslaught. In a year that could see Villa relegated for the first time in Premier League history, the club added another first.

Watch Live: Liverpool vs Manchester United (Lineups & Live Stream)

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One of the most heated rivalries in English soccer resumes with both teams looking to restore the glory days of old as Manchester United at Anfield, live on NBCSN at 9:05 a.m. ET or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Both these sides sit a fair bit outside the table’s top four, an unthinkable prospect just a few years ago. Manchester United sit in sixth, five points back of fourth-placed Tottenham, while Liverpool has stalled in ninth place three points in arrears.

[ WATCH LIVE: Liverpool vs. Manchester United live online at NBC Sports Live Extra ]

With the Reds averaging a game every three days across all competitions, their squad is thinning as injuries continue to knock players out of contention. Defender Dejan Lovren is the closest to a return from his hamstring injury, but he too is out for today. With Lovren’s central defensive partner Martin Skrtel also nursing an ailing hamstring, that means Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure will continue to deputize in the middle.

Christian Benteke continues to serve as a substitute as Roberto Firmino is still the first choice striker for Jurgen Klopp, with Daniel Sturrige and Divock Origi out of contention, and their best attacking player Philippe Coutinho misses out for the second straight match with a hamstring problem of his own.

For Manchester United, a jump-started Wayne Rooney starts up front in an unchanged squad from from the 3-3 draw with Newcastle midweek, having scored three goals in his last two Premier League games after receiving criticism for his poor form this year. Memphis Depay is on the bench in even worse form, having played just 85 minutes over the last four Premier League games.

LINEUPS

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Lucas, Henderson, Can, Milner, Lallana, Firmino.
Subs: 
Ward, Caulker, Smith, Allen, Teixeira, Ibe, Benteke.

Manchester United: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Schneiderlin, Fellaini, Lingard, Herrera, Martial, Rooney.
Subs: 
Romero, Borthwick-Jackson, McNair, Varela, Pereira, Mata, Memphis.

Liverpool adds Caulker from QPR; Boosted by Sakho, Toure for Arsenal clash

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Queens Park Rangers back Steven Caulker is headed to Anfield for the rest of the season, as Liverpool made a savvy addition to its depleted center back corps on Tuesday.

Caulker, 24, was outstanding for Cardiff City in 2013-14’s relegation campaign, but not-so-much as QPR suffered a similar fate the following season. He was on loan at Southampton, but had the loan canceled to switch to the Anfield set.

[ MORE: Newcastle United adds Jonjo Shelvey from Swansea ]

He’ll be available for Wednesday’s visit from Arsenal, which is big news for a Reds side that is missing Martin Skrtel for another month and planned on using Lucas Leiva as a third center back if necessary. Caulker played just 150 minutes for Saints.

Leiva would’ve been the third back because Jurgen Klopp‘s troops had been boosted by the return of Kolo Toure and a game Mamadou Sakho, who is hopeful to start on Wednesday.

Presuming Caulker’s somewhere between his dominant 2013-14 and last year’s mess at QPR, this is a solid pickup for Klopp. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the English back find semi-regular playing time for the Reds, especially in Europe. Liverpool has Augsburg in the Europa League’s Round of 32 on Feb. 18 and 25.