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Monday, 19 July 2010

Joe Cole Signing Boosts Morale At Anfield

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Liverpool fans needed some good news for the summer and they received it with the news that Joe Cole has chosen to move to Merseyside, rather than many of the other clubs chasing him.

It's important not to go overboard on this one; Cole isn't in the same bracket as Fernando Torres but his acquisition does a lot to shore up the slide in Liverpool's standing. Big clubs have to make big signings and the England man is both a statement of intent and a means to retaining Steven Gerrard and Torres.

Cole's decision already shows the dividend in appointing a much-respected football man in Roy Hodgson. Certainly, money will have had an influence but reports seem to indicate that Champions League football could have been on the cards elsewhere. Hodgson has real weight in the game and a reputation as a good man to play under.

It's also inconceivable that Cole hasn't picked up a whisper about the intentions of Gerrard, if not Torres. If the ex-Chelsea man really thought Gerrard was on his way from Anfield, even the persuasive Hodgson surely couldn't have talked him round.

The case of Torres is different. The Spaniard clearly needs an indication that Liverpool can take him to honours soon- after all. the striker played for Atletico Madrid for many years with little to show for his loyalty and he won't want a similar fate at Anfield.

So is Cole a big enough name to give Torres confidence that Liverpool are capable of getting back to the top four immediately? The answer on that one is uncertain and El Nino may well wait to see who else comes along.

Joe Cole can act as catalyst to encourage more good players to listen to Hodgson's plans and if he sets a ball rolling, it will go a long way to keeping their star striker. While clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea are said to be ready to pile in , it's worth noting that Torres himself has not agitated to leave.

It may be an unpopular truth for some clubs to hear but the name Liverpool does carry huge weight across the whole of European football. It's why Roy Hodgson came on board despite the club's plunge to seventh in the table last season and why Steven Gerrard stayed back in 2004 and 2005 when Chelsea pursued him so avidly.

Joe Cole is just the latest player to choose the history and kudos of the red shirt and his choice has made another contribution to rebuilding the club's self-esteem after the battering of 2009/10. There is no certainty that Fernando Torres will stay but today's news made that outcome a lot likelier.

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Hugh Larkin



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