We've been known to be hard on Joe Cole at times here on the Liverpool Offside. In fact, the only player on the current squad who's regularly come in for a rougher ride around these parts is probably Stewart Downing, whose arrival led to the benching of the far more effective Maxi Rodriguez and whose continued inclusion is a big part of why there isn't room on the bench for the hugely promising Jack Robinson.
And as for Cole, when the quality of Liverpool's performance dipped precipitously when he stepped on the pitch for Jose Enrique against West Ham on Sunday, the signs weren't positive when it came to his latest last chance to impress. Still, it's always been difficult to dislike Cole on a personal level. To dislike the financial drain he puts on the club, sure, but on a human level Cole has always come across well.
Yet even that wouldn't have been near enough to save him from the wrath of an angry fanbase had Liverpool's performance—and with it his performance—continued on through to the end of Sunday's match in the same manner it ended the first half. Thankfully for all involved, a late pushback and an unlikely moment of heroism from Cole—his second in as many weeks—changed the story.
It was the kind of come from behind victory that this Liverpool side needed. A positive result that the club might not have deserved in the midst of a season that had seen the club far too often fail to get results it did deserve. And to the surprise of many, much of Sunday's result was owed to Joe Cole.
"It was a good feeling to score again and an even better one to win," he said. "When I came off the pitch after scoring against Young Boys, considering I haven't done much for Liverpool, the reception I got from the fans was amazing and it meant a lot to me. The fans can see I want to do well for this club and it was great to score a goal for them [against West Ham] and get the three points.
"I really do think this team is making good progression. The players are getting better and better and really responding to the things the manager wants us to do."
It might still be rather difficult—or even downright impossible—to find a fan who believes that Cole's future lies at the club. At least if he wants that future to involve more time on the pitch and less sat on the bench, that is. A few more moments like the ones against West Ham and BSC Young Boys, though, and one or two might find their views outlooks softening ever so slightly.
Even if that doesn't happen, from a purely human standpoint it's nice to see Cole manage a positive moment or two in his time at Liverpool Football Club. And having those positive moments help with getting the club a few more points doesn't hurt, either.