After Steven Gerrard limped off injured after just twelve minutes of play at Goodison Park, many were quick to remark that Robbie Keane could have been an ideal replacement for the Liverpool captain. However, even if the Irishman had been on the bench for the Reds, it’s entirely likely that Yossi Benayoun would still have been selected to come on instead.
Indeed, Rafael Benitez had started to lose faith in Keane after just a handful of games in a Liverpool shirt. While the Spaniard was initially patient with his £20 million signing, claiming that the forward was open to improvement after a few average performances, the Spurs striker continued to struggle to live up to his price tag. The Daily Mail reports that Alan Hansen insists that Rafa shouldn’t be criticised for a player’s failure to cut the mustard at Anfield.
‘The press have been quick to suggest Robbie could have made a big impact on the [Everton] game and he wasn’t given a fair crack at the whip but the simple truth of the matter is that the lad came to Liverpool and didn’t play well.
‘People will argue that Robbie didn’t have the chance to impress and was played out of position but he had numerous chances to score goals in a Liverpool shirt and he didn’t take them.
‘If you look at his record, Robbie did start a lot of matches. OK, some may have been up front on his own which isn’t his best position, but he had lots of opportunities to score and for some reason or another, he failed to convert them.
‘A record of just five league goals for a £20m striker is not good, so you have to say his move was a failure.
‘Six months is not a long time to settle into a new club but that’s modern day football for you. I have no doubts he’ll go back to Tottenham and do well as he’s a hero down there and a very good player – it just didn’t work out for him at Liverpool.’
But should the Liverpool manager be questioned for taking a punt on the 28-year-old in the first place? Did Benitez intially go after other transfer targets such as David Villa, only to be rebuffed? Now that Tottenham have Keane on their books, they are seemingly blessed with striking talent, whereas Liverpool seem to have little more than Fernando Torres as a top-class forward.