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Joe Cole opens up on failed Liverpool spell and reasons for his struggles


Joe Cole has opened up on his failed spell at Liverpool – claiming the club’s change of ownership was partly to blame for his struggles.

Cole joined the Reds on a free transfer in 2010, shortly after Roy Hodgson replaced Rafa Benitez as manager.

The midfielder had won his third Premier League title the season before, and his capture was seen as a great piece of business for Liverpool.

But the club changed ownership a few months after Cole arrived at Anfield, with FSG taking charge.

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And while the American owners have brought good times to the Reds, Cole wasn’t able to share in the success.

Former Chelsea star Joe Cole endured a miserable spell at Liverpool
Former Chelsea star Joe Cole endured a miserable spell at Liverpool

His Anfield spell started going wrong right from his debut, when he was sent off in the first-half of injury time in the opening Premier League game of the season against Arsenal.

Cole was then dogged by injuries and poor form throughout his only full campaign at the club, before spending the second season of his contract on loan at French side Lille.

The former England star eventually returned to his former club West Ham on a free transfer in January 2018, having made just 42 appearances for Liverpool.

And now reflecting on the move, Cole believes the sacking of Roy Hodgson, injuries and the change of ownership were the reasons why he failed to make his mark at Anfield.

Asked whether he would make the same choice to sign for Liverpool if he could go back to that moment, Cole said: “At the risk of upsetting Liverpool fans any more than they’re upset with me already, I probably wouldn’t.

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“But not for any fault of the club or because I didn’t like the club or anything. I signed for the previous owners and then they sold the club four or five weeks later.

“And you know what football clubs are like, it’s hard enough when managers come and go, you can fall out of favour.

“But when the owners come and go… I knew it was only a matter of time before Roy [Hodgson] got the boot, and that’s when my injuries started in the sense that, from my knee injury, I kept picking up muscle injuries, I couldn’t explode as quick as I wanted.

Joe Cole joined Liverpool in 2010 when Roy Hodgson was in charge
Joe Cole joined Liverpool in 2010 when Roy Hodgson was in charge

“A bit like you see with Gareth Bale now, and even more so with Gareth it’s glaring because he’s a sprinter, I was never really a sprinter.

“But I was never as sharp as I used to be [after the knee injury]. So right club, wrong time I’d say.

“And then I went to France and I absolutely loved it in France. It was like a breath of fresh air.”

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Cole was given hope he could revive his Liverpool career when Brendan Rodgers took charge in 2012, with the Northern Irishman having worked as a coach at Chelsea.

“It got to the point where I wanted to stay at Lille, Lille wanted me, but then Brendan came to Liverpool,” he said, quoted by the Liverpool Echo. “Brendan I knew from Chelsea, he knew what I could do, he’d seen me in my pomp, so he thought I could be a useful player.

“First game of the season I actually got into the starting line-up. It was [Stewart] Downing on one side, me on the other side and it must have been [Luis] Suarez up top.

“I played, done my hamstring in the first five minutes, and I was devastated. I ended up staying until January, played a handful of Europa League games.

Liverpool were under new ownership a few months after Cole arrived at Anfield
Liverpool were under new ownership a few months after Cole arrived at Anfield

“I actually scored against West Ham for Liverpool – the only reason I was on the pitch was because there was an injury crisis.

“I’d already arranged the move to West Ham, it was just before the new year, I wanted to get out of there and get back home to West Ham.

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“Played against West Ham, scored, and I’m like: ‘What do I do now? Is this a reprieve for me at Liverpool?’. But it wasn’t, and I still left to go back to West Ham.”





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