Amid all the post Sunday prattle about Luis Suarez (can’t believe it’s still going on) it was easy to ignore the fact that Joe Cole has moved back to West Ham.
I guess Cole’s departure is a case of pragmatism over reality. Recently he had recovered from injury and appeared to be showing some signs of getting back to his best, he scored one against Young Boys in the Europa League and, more significantly and ironically, against West Ham later on in the Premiership. This continued, as we were preparing for the Mansfield game Cole was setting up both West Ham’s goals against The Mancs or course by then it was too late!
Despite these small, but encouraging, signs of progress age and salary appear to have counted against Cole putting him at odds with the owner’s policy of wanting younger players on more realistic and competitive contracts. Although he is of the same era Cole isn’t as “untouchable” as Steven Gerrard so, at 31 years of age and on a reported £80k a week, was always a prime candidate for the trap door? Despite this, and unlike some of our players who we paying comparatively high salaries for a relatively little return, I had no real issue with Cole. I think he wanted to do well and when things went wrong on the pitch his frustration was there for all to see, on one occasion I actually thought he was going to cry!
We and he gave it a good go even giving him the opportunity to get himself back via a loan to Lille where reports suggest he did well. Under different (more affluent?) circumstances he might still be with us however it wasn’t to be. Cole has a good attitude he moved back to London for family reasons and I wish him luck with that. Interviewed after the Mancs game, where his new side were 2-1 up a one stage, he said it was a “missed opportunity”, the same, had circumstances been right, could be said for his time with us?
Meanwhile Steven Gerrard given recent results seems to think we’re on the road to improvement
“My feelings now are that we’re moving forward. From now until the end of the season, we’ll make big strides and improve a lot”
The results, together with Gerrard’s improved form are there for all to see. Stroke aside we’ve despatched Fulham, QPR and Sunderland for ten goals with no reply however perhaps Stevie’s remarks are still a tad premature? A look at the fixture list tells us that the next three away games are against Arsenal, ManchesterCity and, this weekend. The Mancs. These games are the biggest test to our progress. If we come out of those fixtures in eighth place (our current position) or higher than, yes, I think we can say that really will be progress?
So the next month will be a baptism of fire for new boy Daniel Sturridge. I guess some of the pressure on him is off having got his first goal on Sunday albeit, with utmost respect to Mansfield, in a Cup tie against a non league team.
The issue of where Sturridge will play remains unresolved. It was sidestepped on Sunday as he started with Suarez on the bench and then came off for the Uruguayan. I wonder if the Mancs at Old Trafford is the sort of game to try them out together or will BR repeat the arrangement but in reverse ie. Suarez to start this time? Nonetheless I suspect Sturridge will be relieved not only with his goal but also, given recent activity or lack of it, the run out. Whatever the case he appears to be happy with his new arrangements
“It is the biggest club I have ever played for. In the Premier League, there is no bigger club that Liverpool. I thank the boss for giving me an opportunity to play for a club like this and I thank God for making it possible”
Many have read more into this statement than was probably intended and seen it as an add on to Fergie’s comments about Newcastle being a “wee club” however this is clearly nonsense. Anyway how to do define a “big club”, Trophies? Gross turnover? Fans following? The number of times paranoid managers see fit to butt in an offer an opinion on you? Who cares, does it really matter?
Finally are we about to witness the return of the King again. Reports suggest that FSG might invite Kenny back to the club to resume his ambassadorial role. Ever had the feeling you’re being used Kenny?