Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is looking forward to Joe Cole’s return to domestic action just in time for one of the biggest matches of the season.
Cole has been suspended for the last three Barclays Premier League matches after his red card in the season-opening fixture against Arsenal.
However, the free-transfer summer signing from Chelsea will be thrust back into the team for the short trip to Manchester United on Sunday.
The 28-year-old warmed up for the occasion by scoring Liverpool’s fastest European goal – after just 25 seconds – in last night’s 4-1 Europa League victory over Steaua Bucharest.
His reintroduction to the side will bring some much-needed creativity and is welcomed by Lucas, even if it means he will have to settle for a place on the bench.
“Having Joe back from suspension is a big advantage for us,” said the Brazil international, who scored his best goal for the club with a 25-yard drive against the Romanians.
“He adds a lot of quality to the team and hopefully he can make the difference.
“We know it will be a more difficult game than Thursday when we go to Old Trafford, but we will go with confidence and try to win the game.
“After drawing our last game against Birmingham, we want to win this game. It won’t be easy because it’s a derby but hopefully we can do well.”
Striker David Ngog will drop back down to the bench as the rested Fernando Torres returns but he does so with his confidence boosted after two goals against Steaua.
He now has six for the season, and five in as many Europa League matches.
“It is always nice for a striker to score and I was happy to get a couple and help the team,” he said. “It was a good performance and we are pleased to have got off to a good start in this group.
“We know United will be a tough game because they are strong at home but we can get a good result.”