Teams /  England  / Liverpool 
Liverpool have 18,502 Fans
Joe Cole returns to Liverpool side to face Steaua Bucharest
Andy Hunter - 3 years ago

The recovery process may be more psychological than physical for Joe Cole in Romania tonight after Roy Hodgson admitted the midfielder's poor start at Liverpool had sent his confidence plummeting.

Cole will make his first appearance in five weeks against Steaua Bucharest having suffered a hamstring strain at Bolton in October and, on the eve of his scheduled comeback at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, an ankle injury when he kicked the ground in training. On top of a three-match suspension collected on his Premier League debut for the club, from the first red card of the England international's professional career, and a loss of form, Cole has struggled to match the expectations that accompanied his arrival on a free transfer from Chelsea in the summer.

Hodgson revealed it has taken a collective effort to protect the 29-year-old's morale. The Liverpool manager said: "He would obviously have liked to hit the ground running but it's not been possible, largely because of injuries, but he has a long time with us, a long contract and we know what he's capable of doing. The sooner he produces it of course the better for me, but there is no pressure on him in that respect.

"He isn't a naturally confident character. He suffers when things are not going his way. Everyone at the club has worked hard to make sure he doesn't take it too hard and take too much on himself, because he's quite happy to take responsibility. Sometimes those players can take too much on themselves and push themselves even further down. Everyone at the club, but in particular the senior players and his England colleagues, have done a great job encouraging him. Hopefully it will start to come right for Joe against Steaua."

Injuries to Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard, plus Hodgson's reluctance to employ first-team regulars on Europa League away duty, have resulted in an inexperienced squad travelling to Romania. Hundreds of Liverpool supporters were stranded at Luton airport yesterday after poor weather conditions in Bucharest disrupted flights.

Hodgson admits Liverpool may be low on leadership quality against Steaua but, having obtained a draw with a makeshift team in Naples earlier in the group, he believes no member of his squad will be overawed.

The manager said: "I have still got Pepe [Reina]. He might be a far way away from the action in the goal but, to be fair, if you take the two most experienced players with leadership qualities out of most teams, there would be plenty in our position. Not many teams boast three, four or five leaders in the team. Perhaps being a leader means you push other players into a non-leadership position. This is a chance for someone to stand up and be counted. Poulsen did it against Napoli. Maybe he can do it again."

Steaua Bucharest (4-4-2, probable) Tatarusanu; Bonfim, Alves, Gardos, Latovlevici; Nicolita, Gomes, Bicfalvi, Tanase; Stancu, Surdu. Subs from Lungu, Emeghara, Abrudan, Martinovic, Szekely, Radut, Angelov, Kapetanos, Nastasie.

Liverpool (4-2-3-1, probable) Reina; Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Aurelio; Lucas, Poulsen; Shelvey, Cole, Jovanovic; Ngog.

Subs from Jones, Hansen, Flanagan, Robinson, Pacheco, Eccleston, Babel, Skrtel.

Referee Bulent Yildirim (Turkey)

Share your thoughts
Sign in to comment
Page 1 of 1
go get'm joe!

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

Feeling healthy following a long spell on the sidelines and based in a country that he loves, Liverpool full-back Jose Enrique is naturally in very good spirits at the moment.
Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish and Robbie Fowler were joined by current first-teamers Jose Enrique, Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly at a special event for youngsters in Boston on Friday.
Liverpool - 4 hours ago
Liverpool's new signing Adam Lallana will miss the start of the season after suffering a knee injury in training, the club said on Friday.
Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana will miss the start of the season after suffering a knee injury in training.
England midfielder suffers lateral collateral ligament damage Lallana could miss season opener against SouthamptonThe Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana could miss the start of the new season after in ...
Liverpool - 5 hours ago
Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana could miss the start of the new season after injuring his knee in training.
The new £25 million signing is now expected to be sidelined for "up to six weeks", ruling him out of a return to former side Southampton, after damaging ligaments in training
New £25 million signing injured in training, as former Southampton team-mate Lovren moves closer to £20m Anfield switch
Liverpool have today confirmed Adam Lallana has suffered a knee injury in training and is set to miss the start of the new season.
Liverpool continued pre-season preparations in Boston on Friday - and our photographer was on hand to snap the lads' first training session of the day.
As Brendan Rodgers put his squad through their paces at their training base in Harvard, Boston, one special visitor had the fantastic opportunity of training with Stevie G and co.
As Liverpool's time in Boston draws to a close Spanish duo Jose Enrique and Suso jumped aboard one of the city's tour buses to take in some of the many sites the place has to offer, and LFCTV GO was t ...
Robbie Fowler today paid an emotional visit to Tufts Medical Centre in Boston to visit a Liverpool fan from Australia who suffered a massive seizure and heart attack on Tuesday evening.
Croatian defender is third player signed from Southampton Liverpool close to deals for Divock Origi and Loïc RémyLiverpool have taken their summer spending to £80m and could reach the £ ...
Southampton defender Dejan Lovren will undergo a medical with Liverpool this weekend after the clubs agree a £20m fee.
Southampton defender heading for a medical on Saturday and should join Loic Remy and Divock Origi in completing move
Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina wants to finish his career in his native Spain but says there are few chances to return.
Liverpool - 14 hours ago
Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina wants to end his career in his native Spain as the uncertainty over his future persists.
Its normal that you want to return to where you came from Napoli refuse to meet £3.95m release clause in contractThe Liverpool goalkeeper José Reina wants to end his career in his native Spain ...
Read our player profile for Liverpool's new signing - France striker Loic Remy

Latest Photo Galleries

Premier League: Sunday round-up
3 years ago
Our selection of the best Premier League pictures from St James' Park and White Hart Lane
In pictures - Liverpool v Chelsea
3 years ago
All the best images from Anfield as Liverpool host the reigning champions
In pictures - Liverpool v Napoli and Lech Poznan v Manchester City
3 years ago
All the best images from tonight's Europa League matches featuring Liverpool and Manchester City
Kick4Life - changing lives through football