Football: Kolo Toure joins Liverpool on free transfer from Man City

LONDON (AFP) - Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure on Tuesday completed his move to Liverpool on a free transfer from English Premier League rivals Manchester City, the Merseyside club announced.

The centre-back's contract with City expired on Monday and the 32-year-old, whose move had been planned for some time, completed the formalities when the new transfer window opened.

Although Liverpool have not won the English league title for more than 20 years, Toure said he was thrilled to join the five-time European champions.

"This means a lot to me. Firstly, I'm joining one of the best clubs in England," Toure told

"When I left City it was important for me to stay in England because it's the best league - and to join Liverpool is massive for me.

"I chose Liverpool because of the history and because of the spirit of the team and the people here." Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said Toure's arrival would help plug the gap created by the retirement of veteran centre-back Jamie Carragher, who bowed out at the end of last season.

"Losing someone like Jamie Carragher was going to leave a massive hole for us in terms of his experience," Rodgers told the club's website.

"Kolo's experience is going to be really important for us, but not just that. He's someone with a winning mentality.

"There weren't too many available who were better than Kolo Toure. He's played with big clubs, he understands what a winning mentality is about." Toure, who played alongside younger brother Yaya at City, is Liverpool's fourth major signing of the close-season transfer window.

He follows in the footsteps of Spanish forwards Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas and Belgium goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, all of whom reported to the club's Melwood training base for the first day of pre-season training on Tuesday.

Captain Steven Gerrard, who missed the end of last season due to injury, was also present, but striker Luis Suarez and goalkeeper Pepe Reina have been given extra time off due to their involvement in the Confederations Cup.