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Cole signing sparks renewed optimism on Merseyside

July 20, 2010

Joe Cole has already been a huge lift for Liverpool

Joe Cole’s unexpected venture into the realms of Liverpool Football Club has got the Reds’ fans drooling at the prospect, but whilst there is renewed optimism and hope surrounding Liverpool 24 hours on, there is no hiding the fact that Cole alone will not be enough for Liverpool to challenge for honours again this forthcoming season.

When a club makes a signing as exciting and beneficial as this particular transfer, it is easy for people to forget that it takes 11 to tango on a football pitch, and whilst I will join the thousands of Liverpool fans out there in saying that this is an extremely positive move, I will also warn people of the frailty of the rest of the squad. On paper, at least, Liverpool look much stronger going forward, thanks not only to the arrival of Cole, but also to the signature of Serbian international Milan Jovanovic, a player brought to the club by Rafa Benitez. Time will tell as to whether Rafa’s last foray into the transfer market at Liverpool was a profitable or a questionable one, but for the time being I am content with Jovanovic as a Liverpool man.

All of a sudden, with the scribble of one name on a piece of paper, and the addition of one more pair of boots in the dressing room, there appear to be so many more options in attack. Cole is a very versatile player, as is Jovanovic for that matter. They can both play wide left, or in behind the striker, who is of course Fernando Torres. Indeed, Torres had a very disappointing World Cup in South Africa, culminating in yet another muscle tear in the final minutes of the final in Johannesburg. However, with support from Cole, Jovanovic and of course Steven Gerrard, perhaps it’ll be easier than first feared for Torres to re-capture the form that has made him such a hero on the terraces at Anfield. Jovanovic himself can lead the line if for whatever reason Torres is unavailable for selection, and with Javier Mascherano, Lucas and Alberto Aquilani all in the running for the central midfield positions, there’s plenty to choose from for new manager Roy Hodgson.

However, I’m going to let go of the positives for a second and take a look at the positions Hodgson should be most concerned about. Firstly, we have no senior left-back. Stephen Darby is the only realistic option for that position, and you certainly wouldn’t sacrifice Daniel Agger’s aerial ability, nor his defensive prowess to stick him out in unfamiliar territory, as Benitez did towards the end of last season, to little effect. The release of Fabio Aurelio, and the sale of Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina leaves Hodgson deprived of ideas in that area of the field, and one feels he will have to do a lot of work in the transfer market to bring in a suitable replacement for the aforementioned names. Former Tottenham and current Switzerland full-back Reto Ziegler has emerged as the latest candidate for the role, whilst Marseille’s Taye Taiwo is another name that has been mentioned. Of course, it is still far too early in the transfer window to make any definitive suggestions, but it seems most likely that one of those two will be a Liverpool player come August 14th, and the opening Premier League fixture against Arsenal at Anfield.

Clearly, filling the left-back void vacated by Aurelio and Insua must be a priority, and I am also concerned about the opposite side of the defence, occupied currently by Glen Johnson, who didn’t exactly set the world alight in South Africa this Summer. For too long, he has been branded a player who is excellent going forward, but vulnerable in defence. That has to change. For Liverpool to be a challenging force again in the Premier League, as well as in Europe don’t forget, we have to have an unbreachable defence and I don’t believe Glen Johnson to be the player to ensure that happens. Bringing in a player that is more adept and secure in the defensive third would offer Roy Hodgson the luxury of shoring up the backline and preventing the big teams from causing the same sort of problems that they did last season.

Finally, a second striker and therefore a potential partner for Fernando Torres is a necessity, and something that I know Roy Hodgson is setting his priorities for. Loic Remy, the France and Nice striker is a strong link at the moment, although with a bid already on the table from West Ham, and further interest from Tottenham, it is anybody’s guess as to where Remy will end up this season. What is obvious is that no team can win trophies with just one top-class striker in their ranks. Defoe, Pavlyuchenko and Crouch at Tottenham. Rooney, Berbatov and Hernandez at Manchester United. Tevez and Adebayor at Manchester City. These are the big teams, and these are the teams Liverpool need to be challenging in the 2010/11 season. With one striker, it’s not going to happen. Two strikers is essential.

I’m a huge fan of Joe Cole, both on the pitch and off it. I think he’ll be a star at Liverpool and I’m sure he’ll become a fans favourite as quickly as Torres became when he first arrived in England. However, I’m still concerned about Liverpool as a squad, and I hope that the areas I have pinpointed in this article will be addressed by Roy Hodgson sooner or later and Liverpool can set about their mission to break back in to the top 4 this season.

Check out my blog for all my articles: http://article2010.blogspot.com/

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2010 10:47 am

    I think Spurs could do without Robbo! =D

  2. July 22, 2010 3:40 pm

    Cole could prove to be a good signing if he stays injury-free, and may be boost Liverpool’s bid to rejoin the big 4…

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