Joe Cole has opened up his struggles during his time at Liverpool and admitting he probably wouldn’t move to Anfield if given the chance again.
Having come through the West Ham academy, Cole joined Roman Abramovich’s revolution at Chelsea in 2003, with manager Claudio Ranieri seeing him as a replacement for the departed club legend, Gianfranco Zola.
He would win three Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup before moving to Liverpool on a free transfer in 2010, the England international becoming the first signing of Roy Hodgson’s rather forgettable spell in charge
His spell at Anfield didn’t really hit the highs of what had gone before, a number of injuries restricting him to just 20 league appearances in his first season at the club before being loaned out to Ligue 1 side, Lille.
“At the risk of upsetting Liverpool fans any more than they’re upset with me already, I probably wouldn’t,” he said, as per the Liverpool Echo.
“But not for any fault of the club or because I didn’t like the club or anything. I signed for the previous owners and then they sold the club four or five weeks later.
“And you know what football clubs are like, it’s hard enough when managers come and go, you can fall out of favour.
“But when the owners come and go… I knew it was only a matter of time before Roy [Hodgson] got the boot, and that’s when my injuries started in the sense that, from my knee injury, I kept picking up muscle injuries, I couldn’t explode as quick as I wanted.
“A bit like you see with Gareth Bale now, and even more so with Gareth it’s glaring because he’s a sprinter, I was never really a sprinter.
“But I was never as sharp as I used to be [after the knee injury]. So right club, wrong time I’d say.
“And then I went to France and I absolutely loved it in France. It was like a breath of fresh air.”
Cole returned to Liverpool in the summer of 2012 with the club now under the management of Brendan Rogers, and despite the northern Irishman saying he wanted to keep him as part of his squad, he would ultimately leave just six months later, rejoining West Ham.
“It got to the point where I wanted to stay at Lille, Lille wanted me, but then Brendan came to Liverpool,” he said. “Brendan I knew from Chelsea, he knew what I could do, he’d seen me in my pomp, so he thought I could be a useful player.
“First game of the season I actually got into the starting line-up. It was [Stewart] Downing on one side, me on the other side and it must have been [Luis] Suarez up top.
“I played, done my hamstring in the first five minutes, and I was devastated. I ended up staying until January, played a handful of Europa League games.
Remember Joe Cole's great goal against Sweden at 2006 World Cup? pic.twitter.com/zA9jOVwbvs
— Classic Football Shirts (@classicshirts) November 8, 2017
“I actually scored against West Ham for Liverpool – the only reason I was on the pitch was because there was an injury crisis.
“I’d already arranged the move to West Ham, it was just before the new year, I wanted to get out of there and get back home to West Ham.
“Played against West Ham, scored, and I’m like: ‘What do I do now? Is this a reprieve for me at Liverpool?’. But it wasn’t, and I still left to go back to West Ham.”