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Is Liverpool the right choice for Joe Cole?

July 19, 2010

England midfielder Joe Cole sprang a slight surprise by choosing to sign for Liverpool rather than other suitors such as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.

The cynics are saying it is all to do with money and not about prestige given Liverpool will not be in the Champions League next season unlike the other two.

Indeed the story goes that he let his Chelsea contract run out because the Premier League champions would not match his demands.

However, Cole is adamant his decision is about football. He wanted to play more often and more centrally having featured largely on the wing during his time at Stamford Bridge.

But if he wants to play in the middle, is Liverpool really the best fit with captain Steven Gerrard occupying the attacking midfield role? Surely new coach Roy Hodgson is not going to make Gerrard play in a more defensive position?

If the former Fulham boss is eyeing Gerrard or Cole for a second striker role behind Fernando Torres once the Spanish forward is fit, it is difficult to see how Gerrard and Cole could work together if one was a second striker and one a central midfielder. They could end up falling all over each other.

Perhaps the wily Hodgson wants to play a Christmas tree formation with both Gerrard and Cole in the hole behind Torres. This would be highly adventurous and might morph into the sort of three-man attack which was prevalent at the World Cup. However, then Cole could almost be classed as a winger again, something he doesn’t want.

Time will tell if the move pays off. If he has opted for Liverpool because he sees it as a challenge following last season’s dour displays at Anfield, fair play to him. He might have decided that the only way is up with Liverpool under a new coach while Tottenham could suffer playing in two competitions and Arsenal, who will have no attacking central midfield slot open if Cesc Fabragas stays, seem stagnant.

There were media reports circulating saying AC Milan wre interested in Cole given they are tightening their belts and free transfers appeal. Cole is one English player with enough close control to succeed on the continent and the Rossoneri really need creativity — especially if Ronaldinho does not end up staying.

It might have been worth a shot for Cole, and Fabio Capello would have been impressed.

As it is, Cole heads into the unknown at Liverpool.

PHOTO: England’s Joe Cole speaks during a news conference at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, June 9, 2010. REUTERS/Darren Staples

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