Slakr argues passionately that Peter Crouch needs to be left alone.
So I’d like to see Peter Crouch banging in dozens of goals every season as much as the next Liverpool fan. And it does frustrate me that he’s not doing that at the moment. But at the end of the day we’re winning games at the moment, and he’s been a big part of why we’re winning. So while I wish that his balls were getting into the back of the net regularly, I think its time for the pundits to lay off my Crouch.
You don’t get a whole lot of sympathy at Anfield if you suck, and Crouch gets a rousing reception from the Kop every time now. These are fans that know how the game works. They watch the games. And the see and understand the contribution that Crouch is making. I’m so tired of seeing comments like “Crouch is a striker, and a striker’s job is to score goals.” Lets take a step up on the glaringly obvious scale, and let me counter that with my own meaningless statement: Crouch is a Liverpool player, and a Liverpool player’s job is to see that Liverpool win games. And if you don’t think he’s been doing that since he arrived, you and I have a very different understanding of football.
Take Saturday’s game against Man City (a very decent side this season — but thats for another article). I love Djibril Cisse, and think he’s got bucketloads of talent. But Benitez was absolutely right to substitute him on Saturday. Because of all the balls that approached the City penalty area by air, I don’t remember seeing Crouch get beaten to a single one. He was constantly knocking them down, and Cisse just wasn’t in position to take advantage of that. Every single time, Crouch would nod the ball down or play it off, and every single time Cisse was too far behind the ball to capitalize. Morientes and Cisse both need to learn how to play with Crouch, but they’re both fine strikers and they’ll both pick it up. In the meantime, his ability to win so many balls, the discomfort he causes defenders, and his ability to run with the ball all make him a valuable contributor.
One of the best banners I saw at Anfield when Robbie Fowler left said something like “Hope you score loads of hattricks, and Leeds lose 4-3”. I don’t care about who scores, how they score, or how many they score, as long as Liverpool win the damn game. If Crouch scores, great. But if he lays on a goal but doesn’t score it, I couldn’t care less. So, please, when you read the stories about 24 hours of competitive football without scoring, keep in mind (or in another browser window) today’s Premier League table. We’re in 4th place, we’re two points off second, and we’ve won six in a row. That’s better off than we were last season and, for the moment, thats good enough for me. And without Peter Crouch, I don’t think I’d be able to say that.