Trending now:   Liverpool  •  Arsenal  •  Manchester United  •  Barcelona  •  Chelsea  •  Bayern München  •  Tottenham Hotspur  •  Real Madrid  •  Manchester City  •  Leicester City


Teams /  England  / Liverpool 
Liverpool have 23,104 fans
Joe Cole returns to Liverpool side to face Steaua Bucharest
Andy Hunter - 5 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
Page 1 of 1
go get'm joe!

Latest News, Blogs & Podcasts

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique doesn't get drawn into numbers talk after his side completed a club-record 29-match unbeaten run. Here are the top stories from Thursday: LIVERPOOL: Liverpool owner  ...
ESPN FC - Liverpool News - 54 minutes ago
Mike and Mike react to the Fenway Sports Group lowering ticket prices after thousands of fans staged a walk out in protest.
Spirit of Shankly Liverpool Supporters Group chairman Jay McKenna comments on Liverpool owners’ u-turn on their plans to increase ticket prices next season. Speaking on Thursday, a day after the clu ...
Spirit of Shankly supporters' group wants a comprehensive breakdown of the club's ticket pricing structure
Liverpool climbing down on ticket prices is a big success for fans, but we want more. Here's a 10-point plan on how the game can reconnect with the supporters
Jurgen Klopp says striker Daniel Sturridge is back in training, and will not be held back if fit to play. Liverpool should come clean about the specific nature of Daniel Sturridge's injuries and  ...
Today’s quiz hopes you won’t close your browser after the seventh question• Can you identify the referee?• How did these managers fare abroad?• What’s in a club’s name? Continue reading. ...
Liverpool's owners are told the fight to make football affordable will go on despite the club's reverse on ticket prices.
Liverpool - 5 hours ago
Long-term injury absentees Manuel Lanzini and Diafra Sakho are closing in on a return to action for West Ham United, the Premier League club said on Thursday. Currently sixth in the league table, the  ...
The Reds' owners, the Fenway Sports Group, faced a major backlash over plans to hike ticket prices and the former defender has now lauded their decision to back down
• West Brom manager joins attack on cost of top-flight tickets• Says clubs must stop ‘milking’ fans and ‘give something back’Tony Pulis has called for Premier League clubs to cap away tick ...
Liverpool - 6 hours ago
​Jamie Carragher has praised Liverpool's decision to cancel their plans for ticket price increases, after a mass walkout by fans at Anfield last weekend.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol says fans have reached a tipping point regarding ticket prices. Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has expressed his "pride" after the actions of the club&a ...
Liverpool - 12 hours ago
Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes the club should provide the public with more information about Daniel Sturridge's constant injury troubles.
Liverpool - 16 hours ago
Alan Keane played his last game for the Bit o' Red, making a late cameo in their friendly defeat to the Premier League's underage side
Former Liverpool striker believes it is unfair to point the finger of doubt at Sturridge without knowing all the facts
• Owen says club should stop the rumours• Striker finally fit again after being dogged by injuryMichael Owen has urged Liverpool to reveal the full extent of Daniel Sturridge’s recent injuries t ...
Liverpool - 17 hours ago
(Adds details) LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Liverpool's American owners bowed to pressure from the club's fans by backing down on plans to increase ticket prices significantly for next season following  ...
FSG’s backdown over ticket prices is a victory that might just mark the start of a turning of the tide in the way that clubs engage with fans who up to now have been too often taken for grantedPower ...
The club's American owners were stunned by the scale of Saturday's exodus and have moved swiftly to repair relations with supporters
Kick4Life - changing lives through football