Kenny Dalglish's number two has been impressed by how Cole has acquitted himself in pre-season so far.
"At the end of last season he was not getting in the team because the team was playing well," said Clarke.
"But he has gone away, trained hard and had a good summer.
"He knows the position he is in. It has been difficult for him because he has not been involved but when he gets the chance it is up to him to take it."
Clarke felt Cole's continued enthusiasm in training despite his on-field difficulties demonstrated the strength of the character the former West Ham man possesses.
"The better players are always positive," said Clarke.
"They see the bigger picture and understand what is going on. They understand they have to reach certain levels and when they do that they will get in the team."