JOE COLE has warned Manchester City that Liverpool are ready for them - even though he will not be facing the big-spending title pretenders next week.
The tough start to Liverpool’s Barclays Premier League campaign continues on Monday as they travel to Eastlands to face a City side strengthened to the tune of £120million this summer.
Cole must sit out the intriguing clash as he begins a three-match domestic ban for his sending off in last Sunday’s season-opening draw against Arsenal.
But the mood at Anfield has been upbeat since the appointment of Roy Hodgson as manager in July and Cole expects the Reds to test City.
The 28-year-old playmaker said: “I’ll be cheering the lads on and I think we’ll do a good job. We are ready, we are getting stronger.
“It’s been a disjointed pre-season but we are getting fitter and fitter. The players are looking better every day.
“We are going there full of confidence after holding Arsenal to a draw.”
Cole’s arrival on a free transfer from Chelsea has been one of the reasons for the fresh wave of optimism at Liverpool along with pledges of allegiance from Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
The England international has had an indifferent start to his career on Merseyside, however, after his weekend red card was followed by a penalty miss in Europe last night.
Cole shot tamely from 12 yards in the second half as Liverpool failed to build on a slender 1-0 advantage in the first leg of their Europa League play-off against Trabzonspor at Anfield.
“It was a poor penalty,” said Cole. “I haven’t taken one for about 15 years and I think it might be about another 15 years before I take the next one.
“But you move on and the main thing was the team won.”
Cole at least had the satisfaction of creating the only goal of the night for Ryan Babel and he will be able to play in Turkey next week as Liverpool look to secure a place in the group stages.
Hodgson may also consider recalls for the likes of Gerrard, Dirk Kuyt and Glen Johnson, who were all rested with Monday’s game in mind.
Cole said: “We were far from vintage but we got the job done and it is always good not to concede at home. We got the win so we are happy.
“It’s my job to make goals and I’m happy in my two-and-a-half games I’ve made two.
“I need to keep on doing it and keep trying to get better. I need to keep improving and keep getting fitter.
“But the main thing is the team, and it’s a good result in Europe.”
Debutant Christian Poulsen also had a goal disallowed as Liverpool dominated the second half after a drab opening 45 minutes.
Yet with the hosts unable to kill off the tie, Trabzonspor gave warning of their threat as Umut Bulut forced a fine save from Jose Reina.
But that should have given Reina confidence after the error that gifted Arsenal their equaliser last time out. “He is world class,” said Cole. “That is what he is there for, to make world-class saves at crucial times.”
Hodgson agreed that Reina’s save could have been a crucial moment in the tie.
Hodgson said: “We thought it was offside but it wasn’t signalled and was a clear goal chance.
“It was probably the one clear chance they had in the game and Pepe produced an outstanding save.
“It is nice to know that he has been able to put Sunday’s mistake behind him quickly and once again produce an important save.
“We can thank him for that and we still have a clean sheet to take to Trabzonspor.”
Hodgson stood by his decision to make seven changes from the side which faced the Gunners.
“I think it was important to rest them,” said the former Fulham boss.
“All of them played for international teams last Wednesday, then they had to play Arsenal in a very intensive game.
“With another important game last night and another on Monday, I think it was important we rotated the players.
“Fortunately the players I chose did not let the club down and did a good job.
“Whether the margin of victory will be enough, only next Thursday will tell.”