Liverpool boss Rodgers insists Cole injury is minor

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has denied that the injury that forced Joe Cole to be withdrawn early in the club’s Europa League victory over FC Gomel is a serious one, ESPN has reported.

Cole was substituted after 23 minutes with a hamstring problem during the Reds’ 1-0 victory over their Belarusian hosts, replaced by young winger Raheem Sterling. Rodgers added that he expects Cole to be fit and ready for the start of the new Premier League season.

Rodgers said: “Joe just felt his hamstring a little bit. I don’t think it is totally pulled and it was just a little bit of tightness so we had to take him off. It disrupted our plans a little bit but it was better to have him come off rather than risk injury.” It was Cole’s first Liverpool start in some time after spending last season on loan in Ligue 1 with Lille.

A goal from Stewart Downing gave Liverpool a slender advantage heading into the second leg of the third qualifying round game, with the England winger netting just after the hour mark to score his first ever Reds goal. Gomel had hit the post minutes before Downing broke the deadlock, scoring with one of only two on-target Liverpool efforts.

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