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Injury may rule Cole out of Chelsea clash

Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole could miss next Sunday's clash against former club Chelsea after picking up a hamstring injury in Liverpool's 1-0 win at Bolton.

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Cole, 28, swapped Stamford Bridge for Anfield over the summer after Reds boss Roy Hodgson snapped him up on a free transfer, but after limping off against Bolton he may miss out on coming face to face with his former team-mates.

Though Hodgson does not believe the injury is too serious, he revealed that Cole's availability for next Sunday's match would become clearer after further tests.

"He has a slight hamstring injury and we don't know the extent of it until after he has a scan," Hodgson said.

The experience is a new one to Cole having never suffered such a muscle injury in his career. Having already served a three-match ban this season, it is also another setback as he attempts to establish himself at Anfield.

The Reds could be boosted for the visit of the champions and league leaders by the return of Dirk Kuyt. The Dutchman has made a rapid recovery from an ankle injury sustained on international duty earlier this month.

"I think he will be available to be in the squad against Chelsea, but whether he is fit enough to play remains to be seen," Hodgson said. "I think he will return to training towards the latter part of the week and then it is a question of seeing how well he can cope.''

Another former Chelsea player, Glen Johnson, is also expected to be available after a thigh strain.

Hodgson refused to talk up a Liverpool revival after his team finally climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone with victory over Bolton.

"If we had come into this game in a different position in the league table and with a few wins behind us, I think we would have settled down and been a bit more relaxed," Hodgson said. "As it is we are affected by the table and the fact we have started so badly.

"We have been rightly criticised for starting so badly and when that happens one of the things that goes out of the window is composure and confidence. I have been as devastated as everyone has by the lack of results but I have never stopped believing that work would pay dividends. It is just a question of timescales.

"I am still not convinced it is going to pay dividends in a short timescale, it is going to be a longer job. It is still too early to be too optimistic but at least it is a step in the right direction. The players now know they have got the ability to dig in, even in games like this, which is a good thing to know. It is nice to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.''


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