On the 19th July 2010 it was announced that Joe Cole had signed for Liverpool FC. A well respected, quality midfield play-maker and England international star, Cole’s signing was greeted with delight on Merseyside. Not only had the Anfield outfit picked up a fantastic player, but they’d got him for free! Allegedly rejecting the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal in order to come to Liverpool, Cole cited reasons such as the great history of the club and the prospect of forming a midfield partnership with Steven Gerrard for his decision. Great anticipation surrounded Joe Cole’s debut season at Anfield (Gerrard even said Cole was “better than Messi”) but, unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned.
Sent off in his debut game against Arsenal, it has been downhill ever since for the Liverpool number 10. Sure, there have been flashes of Cole’s old genius, such as his 25 second goal against Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League, but ultimately his season has been typified by injury troubles and an alarming loss of form. Now Cole is unable to get into the first team and can only watch as the likes of Raul Meireles, Jay Spearing, Lucas Leiva and Maxi Rodriguez improve week by week. Cole has been reduced to a bit-part player at Liverpool and word is he is on the way out.
Several teams have been linked with the midfielder but the most likely of them is a reunion with former manager Harry Redknapp at Tottenham Hotspur. The question is, should Cole stay at Liverpool or move on to pastures new?
Certainly what Joe Cole needs is to start a few games on the trot in order to regain his confidence and find his form again. Kenny Dalglish does seem genuine too when he has stated that he wants Joe Cole to get back to his best and become a regular fixture in the team. The problem is, of course, that with so many of the other Liverpool players on top form it is tough to justify replacing any of them with a player who is not at his best. And with no Europa League next season, which would have been an ideal place for Cole to get a few confidence building matches, where can the Liverpool manager actually put him in a starting line-up regularly?
However, one would argue that he would face the same problems at Tottenham. Assuming Spurs can hold onto their main midfielders then the likes of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Marlon Sandro, Jermaine Jenas and Steven Pienaar are all options for Harry Redknapp. How exactly is Joe Cole going to be able to start regularly and get on a good run of form in that team? Even with the option of playing Cole in Europa League matches, I still think it would be difficult for Redknapp.