Liverpool pins hopes on Joe Cole

AP

The 28-year-old England international ended a seven-year stay with EPL champions Chelsea to move to the Reds on a free transfer in July in a deal worth a reported £90,000 a week. However, Joe Cole's first league outing at Anfield will be remembered for all the wrong reasons — the midfielder was sent off for the first time in his career following a reckless challenge on Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny in Liverpool's season opener. By Kate Bamber.

Joe Cole's footballing career has been a roller coaster ride but Liverpool's new midfielder has been heralded as the key to propel the Reds back into title contention in the 2010/11 season.

The 28-year-old England international ended a seven-year stay with EPL champions Chelsea to move to the Reds on a free transfer in July in a deal worth a reported £90,000 a week.

However, Cole's first league outing at Anfield will be remembered for all the wrong reasons — the midfielder was sent off for the first time in his career following a reckless challenge on Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny in Liverpool's season opener.

He also missed a penalty in the first leg of their Europa League match against Trabzonspor. Despite this, Cole is keen to succeed on Merseyside and help them secure a UEFA Champions League place after last season's seventh-place finish.

“I want to be a success here and I'll do everything I can for the team to make it work,” he said. “I have targets but I'll keep them to myself. In football you can have a bad game or a great game, but for myself I want to be part of a team that's going to win things. It's important this team is challenging and that we're right there at the end.”

It certainly seems Cole will do everything possible to succeed. He became a father for the first time earlier this year when wife Carly gave birth to their daughter and it had been thought Cole would not want to uproot his family but that was not the case. “It's a massive deal. We've just had a young baby girl, but I'm 28 now and I have a good family around me,” he explained. “I think players can play for other clubs but with Liverpool you have to live and breathe it. It's that kind of a place. I am excited by the challenge. I am moving my family and everyone is excited and booking their weekends up here. I am going to make it work.”

The Londoner began his career in the West Ham academy, where he was a key part of the famous youth team which included the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick. Cole was 18 when he netted his first EPL goal in the Hammers' 5-4 home win over Bradford in 2000 and alerted the attention of the England management soon after, making his England debut from the bench the following year in the 4-0 win over Mexico at Pride Park. He reached new heights in June 2003 when he scored his first goals for England in the 2-1 win over Serbia and Montenegro at Walkers Stadium.

Cole then joined Chelsea from Upton Park for £6.6m in August that year and scored 40 goals in 282 appearances for the Blues, winning three Premier League titles and two FA Cups. But despite such success for the club, Cole's time at Chelsea was a frustrating one.

The rising star was one of the first acquisitions snapped up under billionaire Russian owner Roman Abramovich but became a victim of Claudio Ranieri's squad rotation policy and only made 18 starts in a frustrating first season. It was still enough for the Chelsea man to book his place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's Euro 2004 squad but he failed to make an appearance in Portugal.

The arrival of enigmatic boss Jose Mourinho gave Cole a chance to make the starting XI on a more regular basis, but his relationship with the Portuguese soured. This did not deter Cole, who knuckled down and forced his way back into the starting line-up ahead of players like Arjen Robben and Damien Duff, but his career then took another downturn when Mourinho's successor, Carlo Ancelotti, only offered him limited first-team opportunities.

Almost half of Cole's 32 appearances for the club last season came from the bench after he battled back to fitness following a knee ligament injury. Frustration at his bit-part role set in and when Chelsea revealed he would leave the club in June this year he became the only player to go to the World Cup without a club.

With England's disastrous performance in South Africa now behind them, Liverpool's biggest summer signing is hoping his career is once again on the up as he tries to bring the glory days back to Anfield.

Cole tied the knot with model and fitness trainer Carly Zucker in June 2009. The pair welcomed their first child, daughter Ruby Tatiana, into the world in March this year. Cole drives a Mercedes Benz S 320 CDI and had once survived an accident in his Range Rover Vogue in 2008 when the 4x4 was rear-ended by a 40-ton lorry.

FACTFILE Name: Joe Cole Position: Midfielder Club: Liverpool D.O.B: 08/11/1981 England Caps: 56 England Goals: 10 England Debut: v Mexico 2001

Moment to remember: The sensational 35-yard goal Cole scored for England against Sweden in the 2006 World Cup during a group game.

Moment to forget: earning the first red card of his career on his league debut for Liverpool at Anfield this season.

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