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Liverpool’s Squad In Profile: Part Two; Midfield Attacking Options Examined

COS contributor Aquaman continues this look at the Anfield squad and who should go and who should stay.

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Ryan Babel Liverpool 2009/10

Part one CLICK HERE clocked in at 1400 words for 8 players. I have 10 to get through now,
so this is only going to be 5 of those. Part three is sadly
inevitable.

Right Wing
18 Dirk Kuyt
Age: 29
Contract Expires: Jun 2012
Bought for: 9 mil
Current Value: 10 mil
Dirk is one of the less spectacular players in the Liverpool squad. He’s
certainly not known for his step overs and flashy runs. He is the
epitome of a solid hard working footballer. Never ever stops running.
Was originally a striker and probably should have stayed as one. The
goals that he scores are usually striker goals rather than winger ones
(ie ball came to him while he was already in the box). However, he is
vitally important behind the scenes. He is a real example to the rest
of the Anfield squad in work rate. Even the big stars can be inspired by his
never ever say die attitude. I can understand why Rafa Benitez wants him on
the field, but sacrificing a position to keep him on seems messy to
me.
I’d keep him. I think the comebacks of last season could be attributed
to Kuyt’s influence. If this is true then he’s worth it.

17 Maxi Rodriguez
Age: 29
Contract Expires: Jun 2013
Bought for: A piece of goodwill
Current Value: 8 mil
First of all his value is difficult to estimate. We don’t know
everything about him yet so it may well go up (or down for that
matter). Maxi strikes me as a good running winger. When he has the
ball at his feet he can fool defenders and run past them. His biggest
attribute though is that he knows Torres well and knows how to find
him. That’s really all we need from our wingers. If they could all do
that then we’d be in good shape. The real test for Maxi will be when
Torres is injured. His second big plus is that his presence has made
Mascherano a happy man.
I’m all for keeping him. He’s got some quality in there and we’re
beginning to see it.

Left Wing

19 Ryan Babel
Age: 23
Contract Expires: Jun 2012
Bought for: 11.5 mil
Current Value: 12 mil
Ah, Babel. That most enigmatic of wonderkids. Has talent in spades but
determination in clubs. He’s finally getting the hang of things
though. To be fair to the man he is only 23 so perhaps we were putting
a little too much expectation on his shoulders. That excuse is no
longer valid now. He’s said so himself, and he’s taken it to heart.
He’s the fastest in our squad (even Torres says he can’t keep up), and
can burst past defenders when he chooses to. Unfortunately playing on
the left when so strongly right footed means that you have to cut in.
Should he play on the right then? Maybe, but he has a killer shot
which would be wasted on the right. It’s a tough one.
If you’d asked me two months ago I would have said get rid of him. Now
I believe that he may well be the superstar we all hoped when he came.

15 Yossi Benayoun
Age: 29
Contract Expires: 2013
Bought for: 5 mil
Current Value: 12 mil
Yossi is a tricksy bugger. Commentators are fond of calling him
twinkle toes, and for once they are exactly right. The ball sticks to
his feet like glue when he’s on song. Also has a knack of finding his
team mates in fantastic positions. Man City came a-sniffing not too
long ago which gives you an indication of his reputation. He still has
his bad days, where he runs into people instead of around them as he
usually does. He has said he prefers the left wing and I think it’s
the best for him as well. It puts him on his strong foot to shoot when
he’s got past the defenders.
Doesn’t get the starts that he would at many other clubs but he is so
very valuable. If a big offer comes in (which it may) then we could
possibly find another younger starter, but that’s a big if.

11 Albert Riera
Age: 27
Contract Expires: Jun 2012
Bought for: 8 mil
Current Value: 6 mil
The big story at the moment. Has been our only classic winger for a
looong time, and now he has committed career suicide. Also had his
tricky moments, and was truly sublime on his day. But those days were
often few and far between, which was a real pity. Always looked to put
the cross in first, but then one day he scored a goal and then he
slowly began to forget that he’s an outside winger. Never really had
the consistency to make the first team regularly which then prompted
him to make the stupid outburst. Silly Riera.
He was one of the players that I would have thought about sacrificing
for transfer funds and now that’s a definite. It wasn’t the content of
his outburst that annoyed me (there was a scary amount of truth in
it), it was the timing. When the club is struggling for scraps, you DO
NOT come out with more dirt to fling at them. It’s similar to the
Itandje crap. Who of us hasn’t sniggered in church before? But when
you’re there for the Hillsborough 20th anniversary, you just DO NOT do
that!

In summary:
Definitely keep: Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Ryan Babel
Possibly sell: Yossi Benayoun
Definitely sell: Albert Riera

So that’s my feelings about the squad so far. I’d ask that the
comments be mostly about the players I have mentioned here but, of
course, that’s up to you.

So what do you think? Who deserves to stay?

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