Last chance to impress? Joe Cole starts for Liverpool against Anzhi Makhachkala


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The Independent Football

Joe Cole has been given another chance just a week after his Liverpool manager slammed his performance in the Capital One Cup.

The former England midfielder is in the starting line-up for the Reds' Europa League tie against Anzhi Makhachkala in Moscow. It represents just the 31-year-old's third start this season.

Cole's display in the Capital One Cup exit against Swansea last Wednesday was dreadful, leading to Rodgers to speak out especially in a scathing reference to his "astronomical" salary, estimated at anything between £90,000 to £130,000 a week and negotiated by the Christian Purslow regime to bring the player on a free transfer in the summer of 2010.

"Joe Cole had an opportunity, the club has invested an astronomical sum of money in a talented player and he has to seize his opportunities," Rodgers said after the humiliating 2-1 defeat against his former side. "It [Liverpool's approach] was too slow, it just was not what I would expect from a team I had set up to be dynamic so I think it was a difficult night for him."

Despite his criticism of a player he has given few opportunities, Rodgers has decided to start Cole in tonight's match. With speculation that he could be forced out in January, Cole will be looking to make amends for his last display.

Also in action for this evening's game in Moscow are Conor Coady, who has been handed his full Liverpool debut, as well as 18-year-old pair Jon Flanagan and striker Adam Morgan.

Liverpool beat mega-rich Anzhi 1-0 when the sides met at Anfield last month.

Anzhi Makhachkala: Vladimir Gabulov, Logashov, Samba, Joao Carlos, Tagirbekov, Ahmedov, Jucilei, Zhirkov, Eto'o, Boussoufa, Traore.

Subs: Pomazan, Gadzhibekov, Agalarov, Lakhiyalov, Carcela-Gonzalez, Smolov, Burmistrov.

Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Flanagan, Henderson, Coady, Cole, Shelvey, Downing, Morgan.

Subs: Gulacsi, Assaidi, Pacheco, Wilson, Fernandez Saez, Sama, Robinson.

Referee: David Fernandez Borbalan (Spain)