Kenny Dalglish has played down the significance of Joe Cole's appearance for Liverpool reserves, with the Anfield boss insisting the move was designed to improve the midfielder's fitness levels.
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Cole's name appeared on the team sheet for a Lancashire Senior Cup tie on Wednesday, leading to speculation that Dalglish did not rate the England international.
The former Chelsea and West Ham playmaker has had a torrid first season at Liverpool and it appeared his fortunes had not improved following the appointment of Dalglish, but the Scot has insisted the former Chelsea man will get his chance.
"Some people look at reserve-team football for first-team players as a punishment," Dalglish said. "But this was a necessity for everybody.
"It wasn't a punishment. If it was a punishment, the players would've been told that. It is all very well training but you still need a runabout on the pitch. Joe Cole will get an opportunity."
Just when that opportunity will arise remains unclear, with the inclusion of Cole in Saturday's clash with Wolves unlikely as Dalglish is set to keep faith with the the side that drew last Sunday's Merseyside derby with Everton.
Cole has featured in just 11 Premier League games this term, scoring one goal, and more worryingly for a player who was bought to be the Reds' creative force, he has contributed just one assist across all competitions.
He has faced a raft of criticism for a series of lacklustre displays this season and unless a dramatic change in form is forthcoming, he will likely be bracketed as an Anfield failure with former boss Roy Hodgson's other signings Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky.