Tuesday 24 October 2017

Liverpool look into appealing Cole's red card

Sam Wallace

roy hodgson said last night that Liverpool were considering an appeal against the red card for Joe Cole, who was described as "devastated" by his manager for his first-half dismissal on his debut.

Cole was given the first red card of his professional career for a challenge in first-half injury-time on Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, who was himself dismissed late in the game for a second booking. Cole caught Koscielny with a studs-up boot before sweeping in with his other leg.

With Cole facing a three-match suspension, Hodgson said the club would take advice on whether to appeal. "It will be a big loss for us," he said. "I think we will look at the video again and try to find out from refereeing experts whether we have a case. I don't want to make a frivolous appeal. But Joe Cole has an unblemished record; he has never been sent off before and he has had very few yellow cards."

Hodgson said that rather than slide into Koscielny, the player had tried to slide into a position where he could block the defender's clearance up the line.

"I don't think he dived to tackle the player, he dived in front of the ball to try to stop it being played down the line. The player got his legs caught up with him and maybe slightly twisted his knee. I was pleased to see there was no serious damage as he was able to play the second half," he said.

"I would argue that Joe Cole is not the kind of person who goes into 'blood-curdling tackles' as I have heard it described by someone. We will look at it again and we might just be fortunate for an appeal to go in our favour.

"Joe is devastated by the decision (by referee Martin Atkinson). It was his debut for Liverpool in a fantastic atmosphere. He was desperate to do well and he is not playing at the top of his game yet. He put us in a difficult position, at 0-0 with 10 men you give the advantage to the opposition."

Even Arsene Wenger was prepared to admit that Cole was "usually a fair player". He said: "He is not one I would record as someone who tries to hurt people. That is not his style. Maybe he was a bit rash in this tackle. He (Cole) kicked him 'accidentally well'. He (Koscielny) took a big kick on his shin and fortunately his shin pad has protected him. When they took him off the pitch, the physio said that the leg could be broken."

Koscielny, a £9.7m summer signing from Lorient, returned to the dressing room at half-time on a stretcher but was able to run out for the second half.

Wenger said that he had signed a contract extension to 2014, announced on Saturday, because he did not want the issue of his previous deal -- which was due to run out at the end of the season -- to dominate over the next month. In terms of negotiations, he said he did not "hold a gun to anyone's head".

Hodgson, meanwhile, said that the club had still not received a bid for Javier Mascherano from Internazionale or Barcelona and that he intended to pick the player in the Europa League game against Trabzonspor on Thursday.

"This is very different from the James Milner situation at Villa, where the club have an offer they are debating," he said. "As yet, we haven't received an offer; if one comes and it is commensurate with our valuation, we will let him go."

As for the game itself, Hodgson said: "I thought it was a fantastic effort but points are hard to come by in this league, so when you get so close you can't avoid that feeling of disappointment.

"Maybe that second-half performance deserved all three and not just one, but if someone had said at half-time you'll defend well and get a 0-0 or 1-1 I would probably have accepted that. But to lose it so close to the end to a rather scrappy goal was tough on us. He (Pepe Reina) took it hard because he is a very serious professional who really believes in himself and the team."

Irish Independent

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