Thursday 04 October 2012
Joe Cole is in line to appear in Liverpool’s UEFA Europa League group match against Udinese after Brendan Rodgers confirmed he has an almost fully fit squad for Thursday's Anfield encounter.
Cole marked his return to action with a goal for the Reds in their 3-0 Barclays Premier League Under-21s victory against Fulham this week and Rodgers may well turn to the playmaker, who has not appeared for the first team since featuring in the 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat by West Bromwich Albion after picking up a hamstring injury.
"I am very fortunate here that I have got a group that has that real warrior mentality and he is one of those guys"
"His attitude is superb and Joe really thinks he can contribute to the group, which is great," Rodgers told the club's official website. "He's been unfortunate. He's been out and came back a couple of times, but didn't quite really get through fitness wise.
"He loves his football, Joe, and he's now fit enough to fight for his position in the group."
Full-back Jose Enrique is also close to making a comeback from a knee complaint, though Martin Kelly and Lucas Leiva remain sidelined for the long term.
Rodgers added that Daniel Agger is soldiering on in discomfort after injuring a knee against Manchester United. "He didn't train all last week - he's got a bit of pain in there," said Rodgers. "He played in the game down at Norwich and did very, very well. He's recovered well now and it's just a management process with Daniel.
"He's a real warrior. I am very fortunate here that I have got a group that has that real warrior mentality and he is one of those guys."
Rodgers is expected to shuffle his pack again with Liverpool’s Barclays Premier League visit of Stoke City on Sunday in mind, but he recognised the strength of opposition who finished third in Serie A last season and which have gone five matches without defeat.
"Udinese will be a very strong team, they've got some excellent players and have had some excellent results this season so far - they've beaten AC Milan and are unbeaten in their last five games," Rodgers said. "We need to ensure we have a group that is strong enough to win the game, but those players [Gerrard and Suarez] will be involved."
Liverpool (from): Reina, Jones, Gulacsi, Johnson, Agger, Coates, Wilson, Carragher, Skrtel, Wisdom, Robinson, Sahin, Gerrard, Cole, Henderson, Downing, Allen, Sterling, Shelvey, Suarez, Assaidi, Pacheco, Borini, Suso, Yesil, Morgan.
Midfielder Yohan Cabaye has urged Newcastle United to use the Europa League as a stepping stone towards further success.
The 26-year-old Frenchman is expected to line up against Bordeaux in the Group D clash at the Sports Direct Arena after recovering from a mouth infection and wants to use the competition as a springboard for greater triumphs.
"It's important to play 100% in this competition to get more experience for the future"
"With Lille, we played for three or four years in the Europa League, and that competition helped us to win the French title and the French cup," Cabaye said. "It's important to play 100% in this competition to get more experience for the future.
"We know Bordeaux are a good team, but we are a good team as well, so we have to win the game to have a winning mentality."
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew agreed upon the importance of taking the Europa League seriously.
"What is important is the development of players," he said. "Players develop here and it is important then that we give them a platform for success, and we are doing our best to do that and this competition is part of that.
"The only way we can keep the likes of Yohan, Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba is to bring success. Hopefully together, we can achieve that and then re-evaluate our goals for next year."
Full-back Danny Simpson's return from a hamstring injury is well-timed for the Magpies, who are without the injured Steven Taylor, who has a calf strain, and Fabricio Coloccini (hamstring).
Coloccini is likely to miss Manchester United's visit to Tyneside on Sunday, while goalkeeper Tim Krul (elbow) remains on the sidelines.
Bordeaux have gone ten matches unbeaten this season and got their European campaign off to a promising start with a 4-0 demolition of Club Brugge. Newcastle drew 0-0 at Maritimo in their opening group match.
Newcastle (from): Harper, Elliot, Simpson, Tavernier, Ferguson, Perch, Williamson, Good, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Ben Arfa, Anita, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux, Obertan, Vuckic, Abeid, Amalfitano, Sammy Ameobi, Ba, Cisse, Shola Ameobi, Campbell.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas does not understand why the profile of the UEFA Europa League is not as high in England as overseas.
Villas-Boas' career took off two years ago when he won the competition as coach of Porto and the 34-year-old intends to boost his standing in the game further by winning the Europa League with Spurs.
"For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League we have to get used to playing in these situations."
"The profile of the competition is raised in other countries, but not England," said Villas-Boas, ahead of this afternoon's Group J visit to Panathinaikos. "I don't understand it. I respect the competition. It is a traditional trophy.
"We have lost the Cup Winners' Cup, which I did not think was a good decision. But it was taken to enrich the Europa League."
Villas-Boas added that a raft of leading European clubs had won the competition in its former guise as a UEFA Cup and pointed to a member of his own backroom staff as an example. Goalkeeping coach Tony Parks won the competition with Spurs in 1984 after saving the decisive penalty in a shoot-out against Anderlecht.
"It's full of tradition, particularly in England, so that's what surprises me even more," said Villas-Boas. "Ask my goalkeeping coach Tony Parks about when he won the UEFA Cup with our club in 1984.
"So many great players have won this competition. If you go back to [Ray] Clemence, [Kevin] Keegan and Tony Parks - the list goes on and on. You could build the most sensational team of all time [out of Europa League winners]."
Villas-Boas clearly considers the competition as a cornerstone to success higher up. "For us to go on and eventually win the Champions League we have to get used to playing in these situations, both physically and mentally," he said.
"The overall objective is to get the points to progress in this competition, but there is obviously an education process that goes with that.
"There is a rotation of players that can happen in certain positions, but I am always to field the strongest team possible. And that can be a benefit in the learning process."
Friedel's absence means Hugo Lloris is likely to make his second start since his move from Lyon on transfer deadline day. Emmanuel Adebayor has not travelled with the team due to a hamstring injury, but could be fit for Sunday's Barclays Premier League home game against Aston Villa.
Tottenham (from): Lloris, Cudicini, Smith, Vertonghen, Gallas, Dawson, Caulker, Walker, Dempsey, Huddlestone, Lennon, Bale, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Falque, Townsend, Sandro, Mason, Defoe.
Anji Makhackhala v Young Boys (5pm)
Liverpool v Udinese (8.05pm)
Newcastle United v Bordeaux (8.05pm)
Club Brugge v Maritimo (8.05pm)
Tottenham Hotspur v Panathinaikos (6pm)
Lazio v Maribor (6pm)