Joe Cole given opportunity to “prove himself”
Joe Cole is set to return for Liverpool as Brendan Rodgers rotates his squad for the Reds’ Capital One Cup clash with Swansea this evening. The former England International has been sidelined with injuries since returning from a season-long loan at Lille, but will now be given the opportunity by his boss to fight his way back into the first team.
Rodgers selected the former Chelsea and West Ham midfielder for his first competitive game as Liverpool manager when they took on FC Gomel back in August; however Cole was substituted after just 23 minutes with a hamstring injury. Since then, the 30-year-old has been struggling for match fitness, making just two sub appearances in the Premier League so far this season.
Rodgers has told reporters how it has been a difficult season for Cole, especially now that talented youngsters Raheem Sterling and Suso have broken into the first team at Anfield.
“It’s been difficult for him” said the Northern Irish manager. “Joe worked hard throughout pre-season, then he got injured and others have come in and done well, so I’m not going to throw them to the garbage because a senior player is available again.
“This game is an opportunity for Joe to come in and prove himself. He’s worked hard, there are no complaints there, and he’s very keen to be a success at Liverpool. We will take it from there.
“He doesn’t want to be picked on anything that he’s done before, it’s about where we are in terms of form now that is important. But Joe loves his training, loves playing games and wants an opportunity to show his qualities and that he has a future here” added Rodgers.
Rodgers is expected to make several more changes tonight in order to give some of his other marginalised players the chance to impress. It is believed Sebastian Coates, Jamie Carragher, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing will all start against Swansea, as well as youngsters Oussama Assaidi, Jack Robinson and Samed Yesil.