Joe Cole's signing was touted as something of a coup by former manager Roy Hodgson especially for a club flirting with off field instability. Since that time, no one would actually blame you if you did not know that he actually played for Liverpool Football Club. It is kind of like the Alberto Aquilani saga. But while a good sum was paid and wasted for Aquilani, Cole came for free.
But even free signings have to be paid, and Cole gets a lot to be warming the bench and visiting the treatment table now and again. I am sure most already know the figure and you can probably do the math regarding how many season tickets that equates to.
To be fair to Cole he did show certain glimpses of his fading talent during preseason. Even that was not enough to get recognition as one of the better performances from the players of a Liverpool side hardly featuring regular first team players. Jonjo Shelvey took his opportunities with both hands and Joe Cole did not. The hunger of youth probably got the better of Cole and his lackluster motivation.
Even if we look at Cole's season long loan at Lille, it was decent, but certainly not overwhelming. It was nothing extraordinary or even good enough to warrant an entry back into the Liverpool lineup. Yet, Brendan Rodgers decided to give him perhaps a last chance. In hindsight, it may yet prove to be a good decision as the look of Liverpool's squad is very thin owing to the mass exodus executed this summer.
The Reds may even consider having Charlie Adam back at the moment with the occurrence of Lucas' injury. That is the extent to which Rodgers has been handicapped.
So with all this in mind, don't you think Joe Cole deserves one last chance? Certainly not. If players are going to be picked on merit, then Cole should have as much chance of getting into the first team as Luis Suarez has of getting a free kick from Howard Webb.
However, Rodgers has to be resourceful. He has to try to get the maximum out of Cole while Liverpool keep paying him plenty more than Shelvey, who is doing a lot more.
At 30, the former Chelsea man also brings in some much needed experience to a very youthful Liverpool side. With a disastrous start to the League campaign, Cole is not getting anywhere near that starting eleven. Rodgers should look to engage him in the Carling Cup and Europa League ties where the gaffer gets a chance to field some of the youngsters as well.
Fielding an all youth team even in these fixtures will be no good and only make the starlets vulnerable to getting their confidence dented. There should be a mix of youth and experience and Cole can be utilized here, until he proves himself good enough for the first team.
Further, Rodgers likes to play swift wingers within the front three. Cole has never had exhilarating speed but with his trickery, despite it not being very effective at present, and better delivery than the likes of Fabio Borini, he might yet find a way to be accommodated on either wing. With Liverpool's goal scoring "exploits" from last season continuing into the new one, Cole will not be a bad option to be employed as the furthest of the three in midfield from Rodgers' preferred formation.
All done and dusted, Cole has had the ability to do some great things in the past as the video here will show you. And sometimes players do go through long rough patches. Steven Gerrard and Andrea Pirlo are just a few of such examples. They eventually came back to torment the life out of opposition teams. Cole did show that he may be just getting back to his best or at least near it still. We can only give him a chance and hope, hope that he will finally repay and actually earn his salary for once.