Trending now:   Manchester United  •  Arsenal  •  Liverpool  •  Chelsea  •  Barcelona  •  Real Madrid  •  Bayern München  •  France  •  Poland  •  Juventus


Teams /  England  / Liverpool 
Liverpool have 23,999 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

• Germany Under-21 midfielder has been told he will not be sold this summer• Dahoud expecting to continue development in Germany ‘for another season’Liverpool face a battle to sign Mahmoud Dah ...
Sadio Mane is pleased not only to be joining Liverpool, but to play under Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool forward Jerome Sinclair has signed for Watford on a five-year deal after snubbing the offer of a new  ...
• Teenage striker will move to Vicrage Road for undisclosed fee• Sinclair holds record as the youngest player ever to play for LiverpoolLiverpool have confirmed that Jerome Sinclair will join Watf ...
The forward officially joins the Hornets on July 1 after agreeing terms with them in May, with the Reds receiving compensation for developing the player
Sadio Mane is pleased not only to be joining Liverpool, but to play under Jurgen Klopp.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol reacts to Liverpool's latest signing Sadio Mane and what he can offer Jurgen Klopp's side. Despite his lofty transfer fee, Sadio Mane isn't a signing that w ...
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol reacts to Liverpool's latest signing Sadio Mane and what he can offer Jurgen Klopp's side. Martin Skrtel's eight-year stay at Liverpool is close to an end wit ...
The Wales international is likely to extend his Reds contract and leave for Huddersfield on loan, which could mean the 28-year-old staying on as back-up
The Turkish club's president has confirmed he is hopeful of signing the Slovakia international soon and has also revealed he is waiting for buyers for the former Man Utd striker
The Anfield boss is excited to get down to business after the Reds signed a player he has been keeping tabs on for the last four years
The Senegal international can operate on either flank or through the middle, offering Jurgen Klopp plenty of flexibility while adding fresh dynamism and drive to the squad
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol reacts to Liverpool's latest signing Sadio Mane and what he can offer Jurgen Klopp's side.
Senegal forward Sadio Mane leaves Southampton for a fee that could rise to a Liverpool club-record £36m.
Sadio Mane scored 11 Premier League goals for Southampton last season. Liverpool have completed the signing of Sadio Mane from Southampton for an undisclosed fee. Senegal international Mane, 24, has ...
• Senegalese moves to Anfield on five-year contract• Reds unable to lure their primary target Mario GötzeSadio Mané has signed for Liverpool on a five-year contract in a deal worth around £30m. ...
The Senegal international forward becomes the fourth new acquisition under Jurgen Klopp's charge at Anfield and he will wear the No.19 shirt for the Reds next season
Sadio Mane fires past Simon Mignolet for Southampton vs. Liverpool. Southampton's Sadio Mane is set to join Liverpool for a large fee, reputed to be around the £30 million mark. This cou ...
Sadio Mane scored 11 league goals for Southampton last season. Southampton forward Sadio Mane will have a medical at Liverpool on Monday after the Reds agreed a £30 million fee for the Senega ...
• Senegal forward to have medical on Monday• Mané the man after Jürgen Klopp fails to land Mario GötzeSadio Mané will have a medical on Merseyside on Monday as Liverpool close in on the signin ...
The ESPN FC crew discuss the release of the 2016-17 Premier League fixtures. It was "Joe Allen appreciation day" earlier this week. The hashtag was trending worldwide on Twitter as Liverpool ...
Kick4Life - changing lives through football