Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson was pleased to see Joe Cole showed no signs of rustiness as a result of his domestic suspension as he scored and played an important role in the 4-1 Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest.
Cole has been banned from the Barclays Premier League since his sending off in the game against Arsenal on the opening weekend of the season.
However, he warmed up for Sunday's clash with Manchester United by scoring Liverpool's fastest goal in Europe - after just 25 seconds - and his first for the club since his summer free transfer from Chelsea.
"It was nice for Joe Cole to get his first goal for the club, I thought he was lively throughout," said Hodgson. "He showed some good touches and movement and as the game opened up the match became even easier for him."
Cole was delighted to be able to play a part in getting Liverpool's Group K campaign off to a winning start.
"It's massive, you've got to win your home games. It was a tough game and a good result," he said. "I'm happy to get the first goal for the team. Teams come here, they put a lot of work in stopping us playing in the first half."
David Ngog took his tally to five in as many Europa League matches, and six for the season, with two goals while substitute Lucas Leiva was also on the scoresheet.
As Hodgson made eight changes from the side which drew 0-0 at Birmingham on Sunday it is likely few will survive for the trip to Old Trafford.
But he felt his decision was vindicated as he was able to leave the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Milan Jovanovic and Christian Poulsen out of the squad entirely.
"I had no doubt that, given the fact we have so many players who play international football, this was the moment to give them a rest and allow them to prepare properly for Sunday's game," added the Liverpool manager.
"The ones who came in did a good job and got a good result and in my opinion the decision would have been just as valid even if we had not got a good result."
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