Roy Hodgson said last night that Liverpool were considering an appeal against the red card for Joe Cole, who was described as "devastated" by his manager for his first-half dismissal on his debut in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Cole was given the first red card of his professional career for a challenge in first-half injury-time on the Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny, who was himself dismissed late in the game for a second booking. Cole caught Koscielny with a studs-up boot before sweeping in with his other leg.
With Cole facing a three-match suspension, Hodgson said the club would take advice on whether to appeal. "It will be a big loss for us," he said. "I think we will look at the video again and try to find out from refereeing experts whether we have a case. I don't want to make a frivolous appeal. But Joe Cole has an unblemished record; he has never been sent off before and he has had very few yellow cards."
Hodgson said that rather than slide into Koscielny, the player had tried to slide into a position where he could block the defender's clearance up the line. "I would argue that Joe Cole is not the kind of person who goes into 'blood-curdling tackles' as I have heard it described by someone," Hodgson said. "We will look at it again and we might just be fortunate for an appeal to go in our favour.
"Joe is devastated by the decision [by referee Martin Atkinson]. It was his debut for Liverpool in a fantastic atmosphere. He was desperate to do well and he is not playing at the top of his game yet. He put us in a difficult position, at 0-0 with 10 men you give the advantage to the opposition."
Even Arsene Wenger was prepared to admit that Cole was "usually a fair player". He said: "He is not one I would record as someone who tries to hurt people. That is not his style. Maybe he was a bit rash in this tackle. He [Cole] kicked him 'accidentally well'. He [Koscielny] took a big kick on his shin and fortunately his shin pad has protected him. When they took him off the pitch, the physio said that the leg could be broken."
Wenger said that he had signed a contract extension to 2014, announced on Saturday, because he did not want the issue of his previous deal – which was due to run out at the end of the season – to dominate over the next month. In terms of negotiations, he said he did not "hold a gun to anyone's head".
Hodgson, meanwhile, said that the club had still not received a bid for Javier Mascherano from Internazionale or Barcelona and that he intended to pick the player in the Europa League game against Trabzonspor on Thursday. "This is very different from the James Milner situation at Villa, where the club have an offer they are debating," he said. "As yet, we haven't received an offer; if one comes and it is commensurate with our valuation, we will let him go."