In a frank interview with Sport1 Voetbalmagazine, Babel revealed that he was not impressed with the way he was managed at Liverpool:
"I was never played in my favoured position, and that broke me at Liverpool. I was not properly managed, and I felt I was often alone. It's a pity that I could not have been more important for Liverpool."
Benitez recently refuted Babel's claims, and laid the blame squarely at the Dutch attacker's feet. He told Sports Illustrated:
"Babel played in a 4-3-3 system at Ajax, but he didn't do well as a winger at the end. We were trying to find his best position but it was not going well. Babel was a young player that needed to understand the English game and he didn't."
As I showed in several articles, Benitez's management had a detrimental impact on Babel. I still feel that is true, but after seeing how Babel has failed at Hoffenheim, I concede that Benitez's was probably less culpable that I first thought.
The reality seems to be that Babel just doesn't have the mentality to succeed at the highest level (or indeed any level). Let's look at the facts:
* No goals and only 1 assist in his last 25 games for Hoffenheim.
* 23 of the those were starts, so it's not like Babel hasn't had a run of games.
* Babel hasn't scored a goal since September 2011.
* Hoffenheim have only four wins in the last twenty games.
You would think that Babel would be a world-beater at a smaller club like Hoffenheim, but his underwhelming impact just shows (IMO) that he has a mentality problem. In that respect, he's very similar to current Liverpool players Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll, who've also struggled to score and create goals since arriving at Anfield.
Babel recently made the dubious claim that he had 'improved' since being at Hoffenheim, and clearly unaware of the irony, he threatened to quit the club if results didn't pick up (!)
Clearly, he has an over-inflated view of his own importance to the team. An attacking player's job is simple: create and/or score goals, and in that regard, Babel has failed. Who would sign him anyway? From where I'm standing, the only way is down for Babel.
** Benitez Effect (noun) – Negligent misuse of - and/or - alienation of football players, to the detriment of the team, resulting in demotivation, recrimination and, ultimately, a desire to (prematurely) leave the club.
Characteristics of the 'Benitez Effect': Can include some or all of the following:
* Inexplicably (and regularly) being dumped on the bench.
* Inexplicably (and regularly) being substituted for no good reason.
* Inexplicably (and regularly) being dropped after scoring/creating goals.
* Regularly being sidelined despite having a consistent positive impact.
* Regularly being played out of position.
* Never being given a fair run in the team.
* Not being allowed to build an effective understanding with team-mates.
* Being treated shabbily at the end of an LFC career (i.e. Riise/Hyypia)
* Occasionally being subject to unfair public criticism.
* Regularly being ignoring in favour of on-field yes-men.