Amidst all the talk about Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, as well as the many other leading names currently being linked with a move to Anfield.
You could understand those Liverpool fans that have forgotten about another international star that is already on the books on Merseyside – Joe Cole.
The 29-year-old England midfielder has had an injury plagued start to his Liverpool career since he signed on a free transfer last summer on a four year deal, and its fair to say that Kop fans are yet to see anything like his best form.
As a West Ham apprentice, Cole was one of the hottest properties in English football with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all keen to land the youngster but the grounded 16-year-old instead chose to sign professional terms at Upton Park where he had played since the age of ten.
When Paolo di Canio began training with Cole at West Ham, he delivered the following verdict:
'I played with Alessandro del Piero when he was Cole's age. In terms of ability they are similar, though perhaps Cole has an edge.
“I also played with Roberto Baggio and, I can tell you, Cole is a stronger version of Baggio.”
Make no mistake, Cole has fulfilled some of the promise that was shown in the very early stages of his career.
After West Ham were relegated in 2003 he left the Hammers for Chelsea where he spent seven glorious years, winning three Barclays Premier League titles and two FA Cups during his stay at Stamford Bridge.
But after making the switch to Anfield in the summer, Cole had a difficult start to his Reds career. He was sent off on his Liverpool debut against Arsenal, suspension followed, and then he was hit with a hamstring injury that put an end to his first month on Merseyside.
A string of niggling injuries meant that Cole rarely featured before the turn of the year, but he didn’t wait long to get off to a fresh start in 2011 when he scored his first league goal for Liverpool on New Year’s Day – a 90th minute winner against Bolton.
Just as he was starting to find his rhythm with the Reds, Cole picked up another injury which will cruelly keep him out of this weekend’s tantalising fixture between Liverpool and Chelsea, and therefore prevent him from a return to his old stomping ground Stamford Bridge.
A combination of injuries, tactics, confidence, luck and a new club that was not stable when he first arrived has hardly helped Cole’s situation over the past six months.
But with the new-look Liverpool side and their array of attacking talent that Kenny Dalglish now has at his disposal, providing he gets himself fit enough for selection and overcomes those long-term injury problems, Joe Cole may prove to be the secret weapon in Liverpool’s bid to restore their club to its former glories.
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