By Arun Nair
After just 45 minutes of the Capital One Cup tie against Swansea, Brendan Rodgers had seen enough. With Liverpool trailing 1-0 to a header from Chico, Joe Cole was substituted. The pre-match talk had indicated that the former England star would be given a chance to impress against the Welsh side, but after an ineffective showing Cole was hauled off to be replaced by Steven Gerrard.
When Cole joined Liverpool in the summer of 2010, he was hailed as an inspired signing by then Reds manager Roy Hodgson. After being released by Chelsea, Cole received offers from Arsenal and Tottenham, but opted to leave the familiarity of London and head up north to join Liverpool.
The transfer captured the imagination of the Anfield faithful. After a dismal performance in the Premier League the season before, finishing 7th under the tenure of Hodgson’s predecessor Rafa Benitez, the Reds fans believed that Cole could be the inspiration to catapult their side back where they belonged, back into the Champions League. Gerrard was quick to praise his new teammate, speaking of his delight at his signing and that “Joe Cole can do things even Lionel Messi can’t do.” Such praise from the captain increased anticipation levels around Anfield, and fans couldnt wait to see the new man perform for the Reds.
However, things didn’t go quite the way the Reds faithful had expected. Cole was sent off on his Premier League debut against Arsenal, before missing a penalty against Trabzonspor in the Europa League. He grabbed a first goal against Steaua Bucharest in Europe, but struggled for form and fitness throughout Hodgson’s ill-fated spell.
When Kenny Dalglish returned to the Anfield dugout in January 2011, Cole had a new manager to impress. However, he was relegated to the bench, making several cameo appearances without threatening to regain a first team place.
Cole was allowed to go out on loan, and surprisingly elected to join French champions Lille for the 2011-12 season. He took the opportunity to impress, scoring 9 goals in 42 appearances, in his most productive season in terms of goals since 2007-08. Lille boss Rudi Garcia expressed a desire to keep Cole, but new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers offered Cole a reprieve, and the midfielder rejoined the squad for the 2012-13 campaign.
Cole was accompanied as a returning loanee by Alberto Aquilani. Many Reds fans prefered the classy Italian to be retained, rather than Cole. A player seemingly a perfect fit for Rodgers’ system, an elegant passer with creativity in abundance. However, with questions concerning the Italian’s mentality, he was sold to Fiorentina, and Cole was staying put. The Reds even reportedly turned down an offer from Spartak Moskow, such was Rodgers’ desire to give Cole a second chance, while other fringe players such as Liverpool legend Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez were allowed to leave.
Cole made his first start since his return against Gomel in the Europa League, but limped off injured midway through the first period. He returned in time for the beginning of the Premier League, coming on as a second half substitute in the defeat at West Brom, but Cole lasted just 10 minutes before succumbing to injury once more.
The latest injury kept Cole out until October. He made an uninspiring return as a sub in the goalless draw against Stoke, but found a regular place out of reach, with Raheem Sterling, Suso, Oussama Assaidi and even Stewart Downing ahead of him in the pecking order.
But then his big chance came. Rodgers started him, amongst a team including both youth and other players out to prove a point, against Swansea.
Cole failed to deliver, virtually anonymous in midfield. Even then, he had a chance to make an impression, but could only send a weak header into the grateful grasp of Gerhard Tremmel in the Swansea goal.
With his contract running until 2014, Cole has to face a choice: Stay at Liverpool, on the fringes, on wages of reportedly between £90,000 to £120,000, well above his worth to the side, or leave in search of first team football, and in doing so almost certainly take a wage cut. At 31, Joe Cole’s best years are behind him. But, as proven at Lille, he still could have something to offer. It hasn’t worked out at Liverpool. However, Cole does have quality. Form is temporary, class is permanent. Cole can still be an important part of a team.
But that team isn’t Liverpool. Joe Cole has given everything but that hasn’t been enough. Fans don’t like to see players fail at their club, but Cole hasn’t lived up to his billing as the signing to transform Liverpool’s fortunes. Cole’s future depends on whether he accepts defeat at Liverpool and moves on.
Only time will tell.
On the back of their Capital One Cup exit to Swansea Brendan Rodger’s Liverpool side host Newcastle United at Anfield. Ahead of the game, The Redmen TV bring you the Uncensored Match Build Up, including…
– Are Newcastle Underperforming this season?
– Alan Pardew and The Envious Transfer Blueprint
– Dangermen Focus: Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa
– Past Match Memories: 4-3’s, Dodgy James and Gerrard Running Riot
– Liverpool On Course for 40pts… Sigh…
– FORM GUIDE: Which of the two teams is currently on top?
– Should Glen Johnson Return to Right Back?
– Lineup Predictions
– Score Predictions
Brendan’s Threadbare Squad
Brenda Rodgers has stated that his squad is too thin to compete in so many competitions this season and his statement was highlighted by his old team disposing of Liverpool in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night.
Rodgers felt he had to rest some of his regular players for the cup tie as most of them had played against Russian side Anzhi and in Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Everton. But it was sad to see Rodgers basically give up on the cup that Liverpool won last season by making so many changes to his team that played against Everton on Sunday.
Rodgers should have been well aware that Swansea would be right up for the match after him leaving in the summer and also taking midfielder Joe Allen with him. In fairness to Rodgers he has tried to give his fringe players a chance in the cup competitions this season, just like he did on Wednesday.
He has put great trust in his players this season but I felt he showed a bit of naivety by making too many changes against Swansea and ultimately paid for it. Swansea had more regular first team players playing and they were far more hungrier on the night than the Liverpool team Rodgers’ assembled.
Jordan Henderson was played out of position at right-back, although he did a decent job for the team. It was a big ask for Assaidi and young Yesil to start in a cup tie like that, with little experience in the English game, and they both struggled. Joe Cole was a massive disappointment and Liverpool have paid the former Chelsea player a lot of money for very little in return, and it will be interesting to see how many more chances he gets in a Liverpool shirt.
Joe Cole is an experienced player who should now be thriving on this opportunity at Liverpool as the squad has little in the way of experience with so many younger members. But Cole has featured very little this season and on the rare occasions he has featured for the first team he has not impressed.
Liverpool have a wealth of talented youngsters coming through at the club with the likes of Sterling, Suso and Wisdom who have become regulars in recent weeks in the first team, but it is difficult for players so young to step up to this level and perform at this high standard every week. But this is what they are being asked to do at the moment with the lack of experience in the squad.
During the summer Liverpool let a lot of experienced players leave which has heaped pressure on Brendan Rodgers and especially the youngsters who have stepped up to the first team squad. Experienced players like Charlie Adam, Craig Bellamy, Aquilani, Maxi and Dirk Kuyt have all moved on to pastures new and Jay Spearing and Andy Carroll are out on loan this season.
Yes Liverpool has brought in a few players in this summer but most of them are very young and some don’t have any experience in the English game. Borini, Allen, Yesil, Assaidi and Sahin have arrived but they don’t share the experience that Adam, Bellamy, Maxi or Kuyt have.
We don’t know if this was Rodgers own doing or the owners telling Rodgers that he must sell and reduce the wage bill before he brings new players in, but whatever the reason there has been players leaving that could have helped this season. Bellamy and Kuyt could both play up front and Andy Carroll’s move was a joke considering Liverpool are only left with Suarez as a their only recognised striker after Borini’s unfortunate long term injury. Maxi could have also played an important role with his knack of scoring goals from midfield, which is sadly lacking in the midfielders Liverpool possess.
It will be a tough season for Liverpool and Rodgers having to rely on a “threadbare” squad but the good thing is it will give the youngsters great experience. But the results must be positive along the way at such a big club like Liverpool.
Rodgers keeps reminding everyone of his thin squad which makes me think that the transfer dealings in the summer has not been his own doing and he has went in to the job with his hands tied by his owners, which has made his difficult job a lot more difficult.
The owners must back Rodgers and give him the time he needs and back him in the January transfer window as his squad is in much need of at least one more striker. Time will tell, but Rodgers has a really tough task to put Liverpool back where they belong.
Stats Below provided by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
Kick off at 4PM
Liverpool shared the spoils with Everton in the Merseyside derby last weekend as Luis Suarez took centre stage as his shot drew an own goal from Leighton Baines and he also scored the second
Suarez now has six goals this season, but his 50 efforts at goal means his conversion rate remains at a relatively low 12%. In comparison, Robin van Persie has a conversion rate of 30%.
In an ill tempered Merseyside derby, Raheem Sterling committed five fouls, the joint highest number of fouls in the last round of games, while Liverpool were clearly fired up and covered 63.12 miles as a team – their second highest total of the season (after their 63.69 miles against Man City)
Steven Gerrard supplied a sublime cross for the second, and was part of an enthralling midfield battle with Marouane Fellaini. Gerrard has completed 281 passes in his opponent’s half this season and delivered 42 crosses providing 4 assists
Martin Skrtel has been in dominant form this season and is ranked third in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for clearances with 23 so far this season. That included 7 in the game against Everton the second highest of any player in a game this season.
Papiss Cisse scored his first goal of the Premier League season, albeit from a fortunate deflection, and Demba Ba wasalso on target as Newcastle beat West Brom 2-1 in their last game
Ba’s goal means he remains neck and neck with Robin van Persie in the race for this season’s golden boot on seven goals a piece. Ba’s goals have come from 32 shots at goal with 47% on target, and 22% of shots converted to goals
Cisse had previously had 17 shots at goal before finally breaking his Premier League duck, with 47% on target
Yohan Cabaye is demonstrating the form that pegged him as one of the best signings of last season. He covered 6.56 miles in the game against West Brom, the second highest of a Newcastle player this season, after his own 6.83 miles against Norwich
Friday Nov 2Posted by: Guest Writer Comments Off
Kenny spoke to talkSPORT on the Richard Keys and Andy Gray show. The former Reds player and manager, Kenny Dalglish, takes a look back on his career in the game and also talks about Celtic, Hillsborough and Suarez.
You can catch the interview here: http://soundcloud.com/talksportlive/dalglish-interview
You can preview the Liverpool v Newcastle match at the weekend on talkSPORT.com here: http://www.talksport.com/football/premier-league/matches/2012-11-04/liverpool-v-newcastle/ – we provide live audio of every Barclays Premier league match in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
- Liverpool have won 15 and lost none of the last 17 Premier League games at Anfield against Newcastle.
- The only goal that Newcastle have scored at Anfield in their last six Premier League visits was an own goal by Daniel Agger netted in this fixture last season.
- The last five Premier League games between Newcastle and Liverpool have all ended as home wins.
- Liverpool have only won three of their last 14 Premier League matches at Anfield (W3 D5 L6).
By Dan Asulin
Week after week I see the same pattern. A first team start in the EPL and a sub-par team start in every other competition. This past week Liverpool F.C fell to Swansea City in what was in my opinion an embarrassing loss that could have been avoided. Let us start by taking a look at the starting 11 that Brendan Rogers chose for the match against Swansea.
Jones, Robinson, Coates, Carragher, Henderson, Shelvey, Allen, Cole, Assaidi, Yesil, Downing all started on Wednesday with Ward, Suarez, Gerrard, Suso, Sterling, Skrtel, Wisdom on the bench. The team that started the match saw a 9 man change from the match against Everton on Sunday. My question is this, Why wouldn’t we start our best players in all competitions? Isn’t winning the point of playing any match?
We don’t have many goal scorers on the team and with Borini out things have been made even harder. To win games we must score goals so why not start Suarez our top scorer? Why not start Sterling who has proved himself in tough matches and recently scored in the Reading game. Why not start Gerrard who is another consistent goal scorer. Yesil and Assaidi have potential but they aren’t capable of scoring the goals we need.
Starting our best players in competitions should be our main focus but we fail to do so time and time again. This pattern can be seen in some of our earlier Europa league matches as well. Liverpool F.C is not the team it once was. We cannot afford to sit the best players on the team just because it’s a league cup match or a Europa match. We cannot underestimate the so called “average” teams anymore because we no longer beat those “average” teams. We want wins, no matter what fixture it is. Had we started the first team and given them more time to play I feel we could have gotten the result we were searching for. It is important to give every player a chance to play so that they gain much needed experience but only do so when we have a solid grip on the game and hold a lead. Hopefully we can learn from our mistakes and finish the season strong. YNWA