Liverpool star Joe Cole is confident his
new side will be ready to fire on all cylinders for the
start of the season.
Cole made his Reds debut in Sunday's friendly defeat to
Borussia Monchengladbach alongside returning England
team-mates Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson.
Despite going down 1-0 in Germany, Cole is optimistic Roy
Hodgson's troops will be ready for the big kick-off on 15th
August against Arsenal.
"It was a good workout," said Cole. "It was a very hot day
and pre-season is always difficult. There were no injuries,
so everything went well.
"It was lovely to pull on a red shirt. I really enjoyed it.
I'm glad I got a run-out as I needed to get the legs going.
"We have looked solid in all the pre-season games and we can
build on that.
"We lost the game, but the young lads who were playing got
some good experience. While it's good to do lots of
training, you need as many games as you can and I am so glad
I got through the 60 minutes.
"Nobody is firing on all cylinders yet, but there were some
good moments and the main thing we take out of it is the
shape of the team and the organisation, which was good. We
will be ready for Arsenal."
By James Carroll in Germany - LFC Official Website
Roy Hodgson admitted there were plenty of
positives to take from the performance of his Liverpool
players, despite a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Moenchengladbach
The Reds slipped to a narrow loss at Borussia Park after
Karim Matmour made the most of some poor defending to give
the Bundesliga side victory as they celebrated their 110th
However, Hodgson was able to field summer signing Joe Cole
as well as England colleagues Steven Gerrard, Jamie
Carragher and Glen Johnson for the first time under his
stewardship and insisted there was much to be encouraged by.
The boss told Liverpoolfc.tv: "We gave it to them again.
It's disappointing. If it had stayed 0-0 I would have been
delighted with the performance. I am still quite pleased and
I think we got everything we asked from the players.
"We had three or four World Cup players playing their first
45 or 60 minutes and, of course, at the end of the game we
had players who are only 15 and 16 on the field. I thought
they stood up to the challenge very well.
"As in Kaiserslautern, we came close to a really good
result. It was an even game but, as I said, unfortunately
after 10 minutes with no pressure on us at all, we gave away
that very bad goal."
Daniel Ayala was guilty of conceding possession cheaply
inside his own area for the Moenchengladbach goal after
eight minutes - but Hodgson had words of comfort for the
He said: "Ayala was our best player after the mistake and I
think that shows what kind of character he is.
"To make a mistake like that after eight minutes, most
players would crumble but not only did he get himself going
again, I thought he was a pillar in our defence and I take
my hat off to him.
"Mistakes are mistakes - they happen and you learn from it.
I am pleased with him."
The clash in Germany represented Liverpool's final
pre-season friendly of the summer - and Hodgson admits it
has been difficult to prepare for the new campaign due to
the extended breaks many of his senior stars were afford
following the World Cup.
"I am seeing improvements in some individual players but we
haven't really had the chance to work together as a team as
yet," he said. "I don't even think we're going to be
together as a team as I would like us to be on August 15 as
we are still reintegrating players.
"Joe and Steven played their first 60 minutes today, Jamie
Carragher played 45 and Johnson 55 - we're just
reintegrating players all the time. It's going to take a bit
"But today was an exercise and certainly not negative in
anyway other than the fact our young players must realise at
this very, very high level you are judged on mistakes and if
you make glaring ones, you're going to be judged very
Despite fielding Gerrard, Cole, Carragher and Johnson,
Hodgson is unsure whether they will be considered for
Thursday's Europa League third qualifying round tie with FK
Rabotnicki at Anfield.
He admitted: "I haven't decided yet. We've left a lot a
players back at home - Kelly, Agger, Soto and Skrtel - so
there's a whole back four and the chances are that's the
back four that will play. We will see if they will get any
minutes and I will speak to them.
"There's also the question of what is going to be best to
get them fit for the game on August 15. We will have to sit
down and talk about it."
Meanwhile, Hodgson explained why he opted to give youngsters
Raheem Sterling and Jesus 'Suso' Fernandez some playing time
towards the end of the clash.
"We were short of players but as it happened, Aurelio signed
at the last minute and Insua decided that he is still
undecided about his future and was therefore able to be
selected," he said.
"Suddenly we had 20 players instead of 18. I was concerned
in the beginning we wouldn't have 18 players so Raheem
Sterling and Suso were called up and having done so I wanted
to give them a few minutes on the pitch."
Cole starts in friendly loss
By James Carroll in Moenchengladbach - LFC Official
Joe Cole made his Liverpool debut as the
Reds slipped to a 1-0 defeat in a pre-season friendly with
Borussia Moenchengladbach in Germany on Sunday afternoon.
The summer signing delivered an encouraging 65-minute
performance at Borussia Park and displayed some slick
link-up play with his new teammates - particularly with
Steven Gerrard, who along with Jamie Carragher and Glen
Johnson, made his first appearance for the Reds under new
manager Roy Hodgson.
There were also late cameos for Academy starlets Raheem
Sterling and Jesus 'Suso' Fernandez as the Reds continued
their preparations for the start of the Barclays Premier
League season in two weeks time.
However, Moenchengladbach were eager to put on a show for
their home crowd and duly opened the scoring on eight
minutes as Karim Matmour capitalised on a defensive error to
The German club arranged the clash as part of their 110th
anniversary celebrations and given the bond between the two
sets of supporters that stretches back nearly four decades,
Liverpool were more than fitting opposition.
Fans from both teams lined up to create a guard of honour
for the players entering the impressive Borussia Park arena,
before Gerry Marsden delivered a rendition of You'll Never
Walk Alone that will live long in the memory for everyone
privileged enough to be amongst the near-60,000 crowd.
The sense of excitement engulfing the stadium was further
lifted by the sight of Cole wearing red for the first time.
Meanwhile, Fabio Aurelio was named amongst the substitutes
after penning a two-year contract less than 24 hours
previously, while Academy starlets Raheem Sterling and Jesus
'Suso' Fernandez were also on the bench.
The home side fashioned the first chance of a warm afternoon
with Juan Arango drilling low into the arms of Diego
Cavalieri from the corner of the box inside four minutes.
The Venezuelan went closer still moments later as he clipped
a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide of the upright.
However, Moenchengladbach made the breakthrough in the
eighth minute when Matmour took full advantage of some
sloppy play by Daniel Ayala. The youngster collected
possession from Cavalieri inside the area, but his first
touch was heavy under pressure and was punished by a
powerful finish by the onrushing Borussia No.40.
The goal appeared to stun the Reds, who had dominated
possession prior to conceding. Die Fohlen were looking
menacing and the visitors were afforded a let off when
Matmour completely missed his kick when well positioned.
With the Algerian's confidence visibly buoyed by his goal,
Matmour was proving a real handful and his stinging drive
required Cavalieri to palm the ball to safety on the
Hodgson opted to introduce Milan Jovanovic and Danny Wilson
into the action at half-time, but Moenchengladbach had the
first chance of the second period as Arango's volleyed
effort from Tobias Levels's cross deflected off Johnson, but
Cavalieri was able to smother.
Liverpool fashioned their first chance of note on 56 minutes
as Cole's low drive from distance was parried by substitute
goalkeeper Christofer Heimeroth. Nathan Eccleston was on
hand to collect the rebound, but the youngster couldn't
profit as Die Fohlen recovered.
Shortly after the hour mark, Gerrard was withdrawn from the
contest before Cole made way to a warm ovation from both
sets of fans.
Borussia continued to threaten and Marco Raus blazed high
and wide from a good position before Wilson was forced to
cut out a dangerous centre from Arango.
With the clock ticking down, Hodgson handed Sterling and
Suso senior bows, while fellow substitute David Amoo
narrowly glanced a header wide of the post - but the hosts
were good value for their win.
And though the Reds were unable to spoil Borussia's
anniversary festivities, Hodgson will have been highly
encouraged by a number of his players' performances - both
old and new alike.