Cole on form in Liverpool win

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New signing Joe Cole enjoyed a promising debut as Liverpool coasted to a 2-0 win in the second leg of their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Rabotnicki at Anfield.

The England midfielder, who arrived on a free transfer having been released by Chelsea, was at the heart of his new side's best moves and set up the opening goal for David Ngog.

Captain Steven Gerrard slotted home a penalty just before the interval and after that it was more of an exhibition game as Liverpool wrapped up a 4-0 victory on aggregate.

Liverpool started brightly and a backheel by Cole released Gerrard who put Ngog through and although Martin Bogatinov dropped to his knees far too early the French striker took the ball too close to the goalkeeper who cleared.

The precision of Cole's lofted pass was not matched by the first touch of Spain Under-19 international Dani Pacheco, making his first start, but the opening goal was not long in coming.

A low 25-yard shot by Gerrard was tipped around the post by Bogatinov and Liverpool took the lead from the resulting 21st-minute corner. The captain played the ball short to Cole who curled a cross towards the penalty spot where Ngog headed in off the underside of the crossbar.

Five minutes before half-time Fernando Lopes fouled Ngog as he turned Lucas Leiva's looping header past the defender and Gerrard slotted home from the penalty spot.

Less than 40 seconds after the restart Cole's cross-shot rebounded off the angle of crossbar and post while another new signing Milan Jovanovic's low shot was palmed around his left-hand upright by Bogatinov.

Cole then forced the goalkeeper into a low save to his left, Pacheco fired in a shot from the left wide of the far post and Ngog headed tamely at Bogatinov as the one-way traffic continued.

Cole was destined not to get on the scoresheet as Martin Kelly's left-wing cross was too hard and high for the unmarked diminutive midfielder to get a proper header on. However, Liverpool, who go into Friday's draw in Nyon for the play-off round, will be more than happy if Cole saves his strikes for more auspicious occasions.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Europa League
Joe Cole
David Ngog
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
Martin Kelly

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