COS Contributor Retryboy extols the virtues of a cult hero who Rafa is finally warming to. A Liverpool legend in the making?
When people talk of Liverpool’s saviour all eyes immediately fixate on the £20m Italian on the bench, the weight of expectation only equalled you feel by the players own desperation to become the new darling of the Kop and rescue our flagging season in the process.
My thoughts are on a different source of creativity, a man who has been fit for the lion’s share of the season, who cost ¼ of the former roma man’s fee and probably the only man who would rival Pepe Reina as Rafa’s biggest steal… Yossi Benayoun.
I feel we have missed the biggest trick available this season by not playing the Israeli in his natural and best position, just behind the front man. I don’t normally like comparing players to former greats but the similarities with Yossi and Peter Beardsley are so obvious its impossible not to look at him as the next Beardsley.
Is it not a big waste of his talents having him on the flanks? Of course he does a good job there particularly on the left but is still not the player he can be. He does the job for the team wherever he is put but suffers for that versatility much as Liverpool veteran Jamie Carragher did for so many years. If Carragher had carried on filling in wherever needed he would have gone down in history as a good player not one of the best central defenders in our history.
This season many have been tried in ‘the hole’ even Voronin but the three occasions Benayoun has filled the role we beat Hull 6-1, Burnley 4-0 where he took the match ball and our only notable victory of the whole campaign humbling United. Not only did it get the best out of the Israeli but also Kuyt looked a different player as the 2 swapped seamlessly allowing the Dutchman to find his poachers positions.
So why hasn’t he played there more? As well as paying for his own versatility I fear he pays for his manager’s lack of flexibility, if Gerrard is fit he is automatically behind the striker, yes he is great in that role but our captain is world class and he has played most of his career in the CM role you would not be moving him out of position and would definitely not be asking him to hold, more a 4-4-1-1 taking nothing away from his game. Another point to back up the argument for our captain to step back is that our 2 hottest striking prospects Nemeth and Pacheco both play the second striker role.
This may become a moot point as Liverpool new boy Aquilani approaches full fitness but you can guarantee that we won’t go all season with both he and Gerrard fit. If either were missing I would have our modern day Beardsley in there in a flash the results in this case do speak for themselves and if this alternative had been used up till now I am sure that the league table would look very different.