Belfast Telegraph

Joe Cole finds the wrong kind of Liverpool red

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson claimed Joe Cole was “devastated” after he was sent off on his league debut for the Reds.

The big-name free transfer from Chelsea was dismissed late in first-half injury time of his new club's season-opening 1-1 Barclays Premier League draw with Arsenal at Anfield.

Liverpool recovered from the setback to take the lead through David Ngog but were denied victory by a last-minute own goal from Jose Reina.

Hodgson said: “He is devastated — his debut at Liverpool, fantastic atmosphere, so desperate to do well.

“He was not playing at the top of his game, but was trying hard to get to that level, when suddenly he gets sent off.

“He was saddened by it all and not least because it put us in a difficult situation.”

Cole was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Laurent Koscielny.

Hodgson felt the verdict was harsh and the club are now considering whether to appeal.

Surprisingly, they could find a character witness in Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who expressed sympathy for the England midfielder.

Wenger said: “It was completely in the corner and I was on the bench, so I couldn't see it.

“But Joe Cole is usually a fair player, he is not one I would record as a guy who tries to hurt people. It is not his style.

“Maybe he was a bit rushing in his tackle.

“He kicked him — certainly accidentally — well because he (Koscielny) had a big knock on his shin. Fortunately his shinpad protected him well.”

Koscielny, a £9.7million 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.

Koscielny was himself later sent off himself in injury time for a second bookable offence.

Arsenal dominated possession in the first half but Liverpool threatened on the break and it was the Reds who upped the tempo after the restart.

Ngog scored a minute into the second period and the Reds had a number of other opportunities to increase their lead.

Arsenal finished the stronger and after Tomas Rosicky had forced a fine save from Reina, the Gunners broke through in the closing moments.

Reina looked to have claimed the ball after Marouane Chamakh's effort hit the post but it squirmed from his grasp and over the line.

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