With rumours of an imminent move to Portsmouth/Aston Villa on the cards for Peter Crouch, COS looks at the career of Liverpool’s lankiest striker and asks, is Rafa an idiot to let such a prolific goalscorer leave?
Standing just over two metres in his socks, Peter Crouch is known throughout British football as having a “good touch for a big man”.
It’s not all just touch though, as the 27-year-old forward has bagged 42 goals in 127 appearances for the club in his three seasons at Anfield. Not a bad return, eh?
Crouch arrived on Merseyside in the summer of summer of 2005, signing for 7 million from Southampton. Unfortunately, Crouch got off to a dreadful start at Liverpool, struggling to score in 19 games.
The goal drought ended, though, when Crouch finally scored against Wigan Athletic in early December.
After that, things took off for Crouch and he ended the season as the man who knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, scoring in the fifth-round tie to give Liverpool their first victory in the Cup over the Mancs since the war.
Having ended the season with an FA Cup Winners medal, Crouch picked up where he’d left off and scored the winning goal in the club’s 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the Community Shield at the start of the 2006-07 campaign.
Despite struggling with injury for part of the season – Crouch suffered a broken nose against Sheffield United in February and was out of the side for over a month recovering from surgery – Crouch finished up as Liverpool’s top goalscorer for the season with 18 goals in just 31 appearances – including 7 in the Champions League.
He’d also firmly established himself as an important member of the England squad.
The arrival of Fernando Torres at the start of the 2007-08 campaign effectively reduced Crouch to a bit-part role at Anfield, and he has struggled to make the first team, making only 17 appearances. Nevertheless, Crouch still managed to bag a total of 11 goals in all competitions last season, which is pretty good, given the amount of time he spent on the bench.
Understandably, Crouch has been frustrated at being left out of the first team and, with one year left on his contract, it has been widely reported that he is pushing for a move out of Anfield.
But shouldn’t Benitez be fighting to keep Crouch? Won’t Liverpool miss the different options he brings to the side? Yes, Torres is a proven top-flight goalscorer, but none of the other strikers at Liverpool have come close to Crouch’s record.
Bottom line: Is Rafa an idiot to let Crouch go? And if he does sell him, who will replace him?