Belfast Telegraph

Joe Cole on fire as Liverpool stroll through

Summer recruit Joe Cole admitted he was relieved to make his competitive debut for Liverpool in the Europa League qualifying win over Rabotnicki.

The England midfielder was the undoubted star as Roy Hodgson's side won 2-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate in their third qualifying round tie.

Cole, who arrived on a free transfer having been released by Chelsea, was at the heart of his new side's best moves and set up the opening goal for David Ngog. Captain Steven Gerrard slotted home a penalty before the interval.

“It was good, I was nervous before the game but it's always like that when you go to a new club,” Cole said. “It was good to get 90 minutes in and get the win in the end. The main difference (at Anfield as a Liverpool player) is that I wasn't getting too much stick! That's different.

“I enjoyed it, I needed the 90 minutes. I ran out of petrol a bit with 20 minutes to go but it was needed. It would have been nice to have scored but I'm sure that will come soon.”

Team-mate Jamie Carragher said: “I thought Joe was brilliant, it was a great performance.

“We've probably been written off a bit over the summer and I think everyone believes we can improve on last season.”

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson said: “It's nice to be in the next round although, quite honestly, I thought we would be after that good performance in Skopje.

“It was important tonight to be disciplined and have a quality performance and we certainly did that.”

Match report: Liverpool 2 Rabotnicki 0

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