4/30/2012 10:35:00 am

QPR defender admits: I always knew £18m star would 'struggle' at LFC...

Rafa Benitez made many effective signings during his time as manager of Liverpool, but the £18m purchase of injured midfield Alberto Aquilani to replace Xabi Alonso was arguably one of the Spaniard's worst transfer decisions. If Aquilani returns to Anfield this summer, he may face his former AC Milan team-mate Taye Taiwo - currently on loan at QPR - in the Premier League, and in a recent interview, the Nigerian International insisted that Aquilani's failure at Liverpool was inevitable.

I was against the Aquilani signing from the start. Buying a player a history of injuries - who was also injured at the time of purchase - made no sense at all, and seemed like an obvious recipe for disaster.

Like many fans, my opposition had nothing to do with Aquilani's ability; he was and is a good player. However, Liverpool needed someone who could come in and take over from Alonso straight away, not three months down the line.

When Aquilani finally fought off his injury, he struggled to impose himself on the team, and Taiwo argues that he knew this would happen:

"I always thought he [Aquilani] might struggle at Liverpool. Given time and space, Alberto can kill teams with his passing, but in England everything is so quick and that didn’t give him time to pick out those passes. It’s like basketball in the Premier League. Italian football is much slower and that brings out the best in him.

To add insult to injury, Benitez rarely played Aquilani when he was actually fully fit, to the extent that 10 weeks after he returned to fitness, the Italian was still struggling to get into the team.

Benitez's transfer dealings in the summer of 2009 cost Liverpool a place in the Champions League, and the same thing has happened this year with Kenny's underwhelming signings.

It seems that many Liverpool fans would welcome the Italian back though; in a recent poll on this site, almost 70% of 4500 fans who took part voted YES to an Aquilani return.

Jaimie Kanwar


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50 Comments :

Pastor of Muppets said...

Aquilani is a must have for our Europa campaign! He'd be useful in the league too if he is afforded space and protection; with the likes of at least Lucas and Suarez on the pitch when he is and possibly Gerrard and/or Shelvey too, I believe Aquilani will have the space and time he needs. Should never be paired with Adam though.

Swiller2004 said...

I'm surprised John Henry hasn't been on the phone to you about replacing comolli. With your wealth of knowledge and scouting of all the greatest players, plus with Martin o'Neil as manager we would win every league and. Champions league between now and the end of time.

Geh54 said...

only want players willing to sweat blood for the shirt,he wants to stay in Italy, let him just sweat!

Navin said...

Jamie, true to form, while the information you have provided is accurate, you seem to be insinuating one thing, when really the point is moot.  While it is true that Rafa "rarely played Aquilani when fully fit" as you put it, it wasn't because Rafa didn't have belief in his ability.  Indeed, like Hargreaves Aquilani suffered from a mental problem of fearing that we would be injured easily again.  Can you blame Fergie or Rafa for not being able to manage what lies in a talented players head all the time?  Anyways, Aqua's issues were put out there in the media from Rafa, which Aqua never disputed.  Eventually when Aqua overcame his injury worries he went onto become one of the top performers at the club.  I know you're a numbers man, so go and check out his player ratings on Liverpoolfc.tv or indeed any of the other rating panels for the last 6 games of Aqua's first season.  That doesn't mean Aquilani wasn't one of Rafa's best purchases, but then again, neither is your penchant for some of your flamboyant fact flaring.  Just saying...      So I ask,  and here's the point of my comment: why bring up something that's a 2 year old dead story and an equally long moot point?  It can't be because another player who may not make the cut at AC Milan gave a sound byte?

Deebo said...

Aquilani is a good player but had his time at Liverpool disrupted by injuries. He's got a good range of passing, is an intelligent midfielder and has a great free-kick. If it's a choice between giving him another chance or sticking with Charlie 'I think I'm Xavi' Adam, I know who'd I'd rather have

yahoo-X5CX25AU3ROVDAHOAWU2IX7DHI said...

If I thought it would definitely see the end of the useless Adam I'd go and get him myself.

Navin said...

Why didn't you post my last comment Jamie?  It didn't have any profanities or insults.

Jaimie K said...

it contained a link. All posts with links are held before going live (to stop spam)

Navin said...

Ahhh, fair enough.  Thanks.

Jaimie K said...

It's called context. I'm not just going to post Taiwo's comment without any background context, and in this case, the context is my personal view of Aquilani. This is predominantly an opinion site, so what's the big deal?

che said...

let the donkey go... dont need him back here... he is too injury prone, and will get snapped by everyone... players know that he cant handle the pace and strength of the PL, it would be a waste to have him here... to think LFC would be better with him, please i think i would rather give one of our young guns a go...

Navin said...

It's just a bit of a non-story, IMO.  You've had more popular stories put out there.  What about the one Setanta is running that Liverpool have agreed a deal for this young Swede from AZ in Holland.    Normally you would have had more than 10 comments in 2 hours and a whole bunch of likes strewn across the comments thread, but at the time of writing there isn't any because the stiry isn't that interesting.  What's more interesting to me, is your attempts to make no big deal sotries into publishable material.  I just wonder, "why does he bother?"  Then I think, "why do I  eve bother to comment?"   The I remember: I'm just shooting the shit while having my morning coffee before I get into real work - maybe it's the same for him.  All's fair I suppose.

maljay2 said...

Nobody should be paired with Adam

Mark LFC said...

Fact of the matter now is we are stuck with Benitez signing since ACmilan does not want to continue making Aquilani's loan deal permanent. Kenny either offload him or use him as a cover for injuries because next season will be long with LFC back in Europa. Moaning about it won't get you anywhere!

thered_beard said...

hehehe good one

davewestausregularguest said...

Another 'dig' at Benitez !

Andrew1 said...

Anyone remember his first game against Arsenal where he picked out a 50-yard pass for Degen I think it was? I really thought we'd have some player right there. Unfortunately it didn't work out for him, but if he comes back we should support him like every other player who goes out and works for the club.

Blackwog said...

He is back and just tell him well it is not our fault they don't want you, give him another chance to prove to the world that he can play and maybe then one of the Italian clubs will come calling, then sell him.

Jaimie K said...

Blackwog - Your comments are always very welcome here but I must request that you change your username. I've had lots of complaints from fellow posters, and I'm sure you can understand why. Cheers.

Ashfah Ngog said...

cHI bAI LU, i THOUGHT lUCAS IS BETTER THAN aQUALANI.

Blackwog said...

No worries only because i like you Jamie.

H8UTD said...

we'd get nothing for that pair..not in this game!

H8UTD said...

if aquilani had both his legs in plaster, in a wheel chair, i would pick him ahead of  charlie ' i think i'm a footballer, but horrendously wrong in that belief' adam.

H8UTD said...

i think aquilani was an expensive panic buy. when rafa criminally sold alonso, he dropped the biggest b*llock of his reign. ok, i admit there were a whole host of others, but to my mind that was the worst.

Parm said...

It is a shame that we can't sell Aquilani.

He is a good player when afforded time and space (he just won't have either of those things in the Premier League). That said, he is still miles better than Charlie 'glorified pub player' Adam.

I still long for Alonso in our midfield. His ability to dictate the tempo of the team is something we've lacked since his departure. Central midfield is definitely an area of the team I would improve this summer - someone like Javi Martinez (although it is unlikely we would go for him, nor would he come to us).

Navin said...

Again, you took out my opinion when I made the counterpoint.  What's the deal?

Jaimie K said...

Stop wasting my time. Your last comment was a long moan about why my article was no more 'popular'. I'm not interested in your views on that, and it has nothing to do with football. Please stick to discussing football; any further comments that snipe about me/the site will be deleted.

DanieRed said...

I would like to dispute the fact that Aquaman is not good for this league, how can 70% of our fans be wrong? Please read this piece http://www.lifesapitch.co.uk/opinions/liverpool-crying-out-for-the-talents-of-unwanted-aquilani/? for more stats that will shame a lot of misguided fact-less comments, some of us loved his pre-season, just guess what would have been if he was there placing the ball for Suarez and Andy? Roy let him go because he was a Rafa signing, KD and DC let him go and replaced him with dross in the form of Adam and Hendo, my God what did they see in them.  There is Diame, Diarras and many world class players who were interested in coming to us but KD shut the door.  Jamie please read this piece and comment, it should clear your skewed opinion mate, great place to chat about our team. YNWA

DanieRed said...

You are lying to yourself, this lad is the best mid in our books bar Lucas, maybe you have not read the stats about him at all try this article written by an Italian Football expect http://www.lifesapitch.co.uk/opinions/liverpool-crying-out-for-the-talents-of-unwanted-aquilani/? after reading please place your revised comment in reply to mine, 70% of supporters questioned said yes, I guess you are in the minority mate. YNWA 

Has said...

Look face facts-Xabi Alonso was never going to reject Real Madrid. They needed Spanish players and bout the best! We got a good price for him. Alberto Aquilani is a decent player who needs a run of games. The problem in Liverpool is Mr "Hoff the ball and run after it" Gerrard does not have vision and makes it difficult for players who play in the middle.

Benitez was right to play Gerrard on right wing, right to go for barry( barry had more assist/goals the alonso prior to his last season). He bought alberto and knows it was a problem but what can you do now.

VormHat said...

At the time, I was very annoyed with Rafa's decision not to play Aqua more in the year he was there but having seen him play 20+ games in the past two seasons, it looks like a good decision from a treatment point of view.

I think we'll end up taking a big hit on him in the summer. We should certainly keep him.

lowey said...

a player who did not like england or obviously being in liverpool. wats the point of this story in current circumstances??
oh i get it............find and dig up an opportunity to dig at raffa

HarryRollover said...

I don't think there is any need at all to have the word 'struggle' in quotations.  Bad grammar.

And, Aquilani was one of two players supposed to come in to deal with losing Alonso.  Stevan Jovetic was also lined up but Tom & Gerry vetoed the deal at the last minute.  You can hardly blame a manager for having the rug pulled out from under his feet.  A manager as astute as Benitez, not thinking ahead.  No chance.

For me Aquilani is a decent player who needed maybe a season or more to settle in to the premier league.

Jaimie K said...

No, it's not bad grammar; it's a quotation. Read Taiwo's quote - the word struggle is in quotation marks because that's the word he uses to describe Aquilani.

In future, please just stick to discussing football. Thanks.

Paul Walsh said...

When he came into the team he had 6 assists in no time at all and two goals (one left and one right footed), which seem to belie the fallacy that the game was too quick for him... Does anyone think he'd link well with Suarez, Maxi, Bellamy, Downing, Carroll and Gerrard. I do. I hope we get to see this in pre-season.

Last pre-season he proved he was a class above any midfielder we have. What a short sighted blunder. Lets find a place in this team for him.

CoolFouad said...

It's well known to all that the great history of European football is shared between England and Italy, and Aqua man is a real decent midfielder that we missed and still miss his quality in all of our games of this season, some say that the Italian football is slow; but tbh, I've always watched the Serie A, and in my opinion it's the best football you see after the premier league, most of the teams are well organized and committed add to that lots of team have a quick football, especially Juve and AC Milan, these two teams have great history in football, full of stars and one of the stars who played for both teams is our star!!
I think that if KK wants him, he will sit with him and make him really want to play for us, I don't believe anything that says wanting to leave for family reasons, we were told that DC left for family reason, and after a few hours it was clear that he was sacked.
We need such a player, and I think that his passes will make of the game a quicker game than we really have.

s.r.k.d24 said...

im sorry but i dont understand how people can call him a failure. he showed he could more than keep up with the premier league. i dont subscribe to the whole not been able to deal with quickness and physicality of the league. its utter rubbish when you see players like modric, mata and silva doing well. as for aqua, i dont remember a bad game for him and had rafa not been sacked he would have had a chance to have a full season and in my mind would have shone. he is clearly world class and this goes for any league he plays in. without doubt hes injury prone but so is agger. that doesnt mean hes too weak for the epl though does it.  anyway i know we wont keep him even though hes head and shoulders above adam, spearing and henderson, so i hope we at last sell him rather than messing around loaning him while his contract runs down. i still believe lucas, aqua and gerrard would be a world class midfield

LIverpool said...

Waste of time! this was an old article! Be more original ...

not wrong said...

don't like criticism at all, do you, football or otherwise, you are always RIGHT! RIGHT! RIGHT!

RedWill said...

Exactly the point i made when it was suggested he came back. He hasnt shown any desire to stay at LFC so we need to ship him out.

Nnicolsenior said...

Once again Liverpool pay megabucks for a player ,then have to sell him for peanuts or give him a free transfer.Look at Wigan,they buy nonentities and sell them on for megabucks, maybe if we had some scouts we might be doing the same.I believe the joker who watched Henderson,Adam,Reina,Agger and co. should be locked up somwhere so that he can do no more harm to our great club.Aqualani returning to Liverpool? what choice do we have? nobody in their right minds are going to pay the asking price and imo he would struggle to find a club even on a bosman.Sorry but we desperately need someone who can go to a football match and be able to recognise talent not how good a player looks lying on a treatment table.Why not go to Wigan and pay megabucks for their scouts ,at least it would be a step in the right direction and not the continued waste of money!!!

Tony said...

Chow chi bai Ashfah Ngog... you cannot be more wrong

OriginalChan said...

'went onto become one of the top performers at the club'

He didn't go onto become anything but a player that came to us us injured and barely played any games to do anything. 

He started a handful of games in the league for us, hardly a conclusive length of period for the pro/anti-Aquilani mob. 
Either way, it was a odd buy.

OriginalChan said...

Xabi barely gets any assists/goals but because of the position he and Barry play in, that isn't the be all and end all. Xabi > Barry all day long.

OriginalChan said...

Yes, it is always someone else's fault. 

Mitch said...

liverpool should just sign belhanda and giroud from monpellier for a combined fee of 30m.. that in my humble opinion would o a lon way in boostin our blunt and slow attack... nothing drastic required.. oh and carra needs to take a backseat and let agger & skrtel take over whilst spearing and flanagan really gotta go - I doubt they'd even make the wolves' first team..

HarryRollover said...

It is bad grammar.  One word quotations, come on.

Johnlennon123 said...

Disagree i'd rather have talent. With talent comes victory, with victory comes desire and hard work. Players willing to sweat blood with zero talent will run around very hard for ninety minutes and accomplish nothing. Unless you think 0-0 is a result. 

Johnlennon123 said...

Without Agger and Reina we would have been relegated this year.

Gggg said...

 ADAM CAN PAIR HIMSELF WITH SOMEONE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP WHERE HE BELONGS.

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