Belfast Telegraph

Jose Reina’s howler won’t sink Liverpool, says captain Steven Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard insists renewed confidence at Anfield will not be damaged by Arsenal's fortuitous last-gasp equaliser in their Barclays Premier League opener.

The Reds were on course to open their domestic campaign with a win when Jose Reina allowed the ball to squirm from his grasp and into the net in injury time of a pulsating clash on Sunday.

It was a deflating blow, but after a positive summer following the appointment of Roy Hodgson, Gerrard says it will take a lot more to damage revitalised spirits.

“My family are Liverpool fans, we are surrounded by them day in and day out,” said Gerrard, who helped lift the club after last season's seventh-placed finish by pledging his future.

“Of course I can feel the optimism, and rightly so. We have got a good manager, we have kept hold of some top players and we have already got some top players here.

“If we can keep everyone fit I am very confident we can have a completely different season to last year. The boys are enjoying training and working very hard.

“There is a real buzz about the place and if we had got three points it would have been a magnificent start.”

Liverpool must go into their next three games without Joe Cole as they have decided not to contest the sending off against Arsenal.

The former Chelsea midfielder, who was making his Premier League debut for the club following his free signing earlier this summer, clattered into Laurent Koscielny and received a straight red card from referee Martin Atkinson.

Koscielny was also dismissed later on in the encounter for two bookable offences to cap off an extraordinary 1-1 draw at Anfield. Cole's dismissal automatically prompted a three-match ban and having studied the video, the club have decided there is little point in contesting the charge.

In fact, if Liverpool were to make representations to the Football Association and their pleas went unheard, Cole would run the risk of picking up a further one match ban for making a “frivolous appeal” as happened to Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand following a transgression against Hull City last season.

“Liverpool will not contest the automatic three-game ban imposed upon Joe Cole,” a statement said. “The club has chosen not to take the matter further, meaning Cole will miss clashes against Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brad Jones has agreed personal terms with Liverpool following ongoing negotiations with Middlesbrough.

A deal worth around £3.5m has been agreed between the two clubs.

Belfast Telegraph


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