JOE Cole’s dream start to his Liverpool continued against plucky Trabzonspor. Joey stepped up, in front of the Kop, to take a penalty which – had he scored – would have made the score 2-0 and sealed the tie.
Except, as he admitted openly in a post-match interview, Cole hasn’t really taken a penalty since he was 13. So why jeopardise Liverpool’s campaign in Europe by taking one last night? To prove that he has the balls to be a Liverpool player? To improve his ratings? Simply to get off the mark? Whatever way you look at Cole bravely ‘putting his hand up’, ultimately it reeked of selfishness – which is ironic, as Cole is not by nature a selfish footballer. Give the ball to Torres. That’s the professional thing to do, no? At least Cole gained some credit by setting up Ryan Babel for the only goal of a poor game.
So calm down, Joe – you don’t need to try so hard to impress Liverpool fans. They like you. Well, most of them.
Other thoughts on Liverpool’s display: Christian Poulsen looked rusty, Babel was terrible until he scored, Torres looked sharp when he came on, Trab aren’t as bad as most English pundits thought, and they would have scored but for a fine Pepe Reina reflex save.
So, it’s 1-0 with a trip to Turkey ahead – that’s a slender lead indeed. One away goal for Liverpool in the second leg should be enough to clinch progress, but if Trab score early, look out.