July 19, 2010 / 1:08 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Liverpool agree to sign England's Joe Cole

* Cole agrees four-year deal

* Londoner to add flair to Liverpool midfield

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LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Midfielder Joe Cole was given the chance to rekindle his career on Monday when he joined Liverpool after being released by Chelsea in May.

The 28-year-old Cole, once regarded as one of England’s most exciting prospects as a teenager at West Ham United, is new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson’s first major signing since he took over from Rafael Benitez at the start of the month.

Liverpool said on its website (www.liverpoolfc.tv) that the England midfielder had agreed personal terms on a four-year contract and would undergo a medical in the next 48 hours.

Free agent Cole was also a target for London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur but his decision to move north is a major coup for Hodgson as he begins the task of pushing the Anfield club back into the Premier League’s top four.

Cole has moved in the opposite direction to Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun who signed for Chelsea this month after three seasons at Liverpool who finished seventh in the Premier League last season.

Liverpool’s lack of midfield creativity was a thorn in their side last season with Benitez’s team heavily reliant on Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres -- both of whom are still being linked with moves away from the club.

Cole, who made fleeting appearances at the World Cup as an England substitute, plays predominantly on the left and has a touch of the maverick about him, a trait that made him popular at Chelsea where he spent seven seasons and won three Premier League titles.

However, the past two seasons have been injury-plagued for the Londoner who suffered a serious knee injury in January 2009 which required surgery and a nine-month lay-off.

He returned to play a key role in Chelsea’s league title push last season, scoring a crucial goal in the victory at Manchester United in April, but was allowed to leave by Carlo Ancelotti when his contract expired in June.

Cole is Liverpool’s second summer signing after Hodgson signed Serbia international striker Milan Jovanovic from Belgian side Standard Liege this month.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Pritha Sarkar; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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