Harry Redknapp has hailed Joe Cole for his courage in moving to Liverpool ahead of Tottenham in the summer.
The two sides meet at White Hart Lane on Sunday and Cole is expected to return to action having spent almost a month on the treatment table.
Redknapp admits holding advanced talks with the former Chelsea player, who was a free agent, only for the Londoner to opt for a move north.
Cole was widely expected to team up with Redknapp at Spurs but his former West Ham boss admits staying in the capital would have been the easy option.
"Maybe he felt he needed a change." Redknapp told The Independent. "Tottenham are a great club but Liverpool have been up there for years and he probably fancied it.
"It was a move in the end where the easy option was to stay in London, but he went for it.
"Maybe Joe just fancied moving out of London. Maybe he wanted to go and be completely focused on his football."
After missing out on the 29-year-old, Redknapp made a deadline day swoop to wrap up the signing of Rafael van der Vaart, who has since scored eight goals for the club.
Cole, who has had injury problems at Anfield, has just one Reds strike to his name so far, but the Spurs boss refuses to accept that his Tottenham snub has worked in their favour.
"I'm not sure what happened in the end. Joe eventually rung me up and said 'Look, sorry, but I'm going to Liverpool'.
"Joe could have come here and been fantastic for us. You never know but no, we wouldn't have taken Rafa had we taken Joe. And Rafa has been great for us."
Meanwhile, Redknapp has revealed how he once duped Daniel Levy, the chairman of the club he now manages, into avoiding the signing of full-back Glen Johnson, now of Liverpool.
Johnson was out of favour at Chelsea before joining Redknapp at Portsmouth, with Liverpool subsequently paying a reported £18million for the England international's services.
Redknapp revealed: "Daniel rang me up and said, 'What about Glen Johnson, Harry? We're interested in him. Do you think he would be a good signing for Tottenham?'
"I said: 'No, no, he's not for Tottenham. He's not good enough for you, Daniel'.
"And I signed him [on a permanent deal] the next day for Portsmouth.
"Daniel does remind of that quite often. But that's life, that's football," he joked.