Teams /  England  / Liverpool 
Liverpool have 19,121 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

Daniel Agger insists he left Liverpool because of a rift with Brendan Rodgers and did not feel 'appreciated' by the Reds manager.
Sky Sports | Football - 3 hours ago
Lampard’s equaliser was written in the script
The Denmark captain claims he ended an eight-year spell at Anfield last summer because his manager failed to appreciate his contributions on and off the pitch
Liverpool have lost three of their opening five Premier League games, with Saturday's 3-1 defeat to West Ham coming four days after narrowly beating Ludogorets in Europe
Raheem Sterling says having England team-mate Daniel Sturridge back in the team will help Liverpool climb the Premier League table.
Preview followed by live coverage of Tuesday's League Cup game between Liverpool and Middlesbrough.
Liverpool Football Club have confirmed there are still a limited number of tickets available for the Capital One Cup game against Middlesbrough at Anfield.
Liverpool Football Club have confirmed there are still a limited number of tickets available for the Capital One Cup game against Middlesbrough at Anfield.
Police open an investigation after Mario Balotelli is subjected to racist online abuse after sending a tweet.
I didnt feel he appreciated my contribution, defender says Agger rejoined Brondby in August for £3mDaniel Agger has admitted that differences of opinion between him and Brendan Rodgers led to his exi ...
Former Liverpool defender Daniel Agger claims he left Anfield because manager Brendan Rodgers did not appreciate him during their time together at the club
Liverpool Football Club have appointed Andrea Cooper as head of the LFC Foundation, the club's official charity.
Liverpool welcome Middlesbrough to Anfield for a Capital One Cup third round tie on Tuesday night – and before that clash, Brendan Rodgers hosts a pre-match press conference today that can be watche ...
Todays whispers are all of a flutterArsène Wenger is a visionary. The inventor of broccoli, passing and spectacular, unrivalled bottle-jobbery, he has already worked out what Arsenal need to do ...
Raheem Sterling accepts Liverpool were below the high standards they've set themselves at West Ham on Saturday, but insists they can – and will – cope with the demands of three games a week.
Liverpool must produce performances that match the raised expectancy now surrounding the club, insisted manager Brendan Rodgers after a disappointing third defeat of the season on Saturday.
Check out the latest LFC-related transfer speculation and newspaper stories in our Media Watch section.
Police investigate obscene response on social media after Liverpool striker's tweet - 'Man Utd LOL' - following rivals' defeat at Leicester
The Reds were soundly beaten by West Ham in the Premier League at the weekend but the Northern Irishman is keen for his side to pick up a big victory in the League Cup
Anti-discrimination campaigners offered their support to Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli after he was racially abused on Twitter.

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