28 Nov 2007

Indefensible: Benitez ignores Crouch again despite 10 goals in 12 CL games

What does Peter Crouch have to do to be treated fairly by Rafael Benitez?! Despite being Liverpool’s most effective striker with 10 goals in the last 12 Champions League games, he was unjustifiably dumped on the bench *again* for the visit of Porto.

What other Manager in world football leaves their top CL scorer on the bench?! Crouch's latest snub is yet more evidence of the negligent mismanagement of a true Liverpool FC asset and arguably proves that Benitez is putting his personal feelings ahead of what is best for the team.

To illustrate my point, let’s examine the facts:

1. Before Porto, Crouch had scored 10 goals in his last 12 Champions League games. That figure is now 11 goals in the last 13 CL games.

2. Crouch scored 2 goals in the previous CL game – The 8-0 thrashing of Besiktas.

3. In his last 6 games (4 starts and 2 sub appearances) Crouch has scored 5 goals and provided one assist. That is direct contribution to a goal in *every game he has been involved in*.

But this is not good enough for Benitez, who preferred Andrei Voronin, a player who has scored 1 goal in his last 12 games for Liverpool.

Over the last year, Benitez has treated Crouch in a disgraceful manner, persistently dumping him on the bench, irrespective of how he performs.

Before Crouch scored against Porto, it had been 19 months since he scored from coming off the bench, yet the statistics prove that if you start Crouch, he will invariably score or create a goal. This is backed up by last season’s statistics, with Crouch scoring 18 goals and providing 7 assists in 30 starts.

Benitez must surely be aware that Crouch does not offer much threat when coming off the bench, so why does he persist in benching him? With such behaviour, Benitez is setting Crouch up to fail. Surely the Manager’s job is to get the best out of his players, not keep putting them in a situation where they have minimal impact on the team?!

It is clear that in footballing terms, Peter Crouch is having a significant impact at Liverpool despite the ignominy of being repeatedly ignored. It is also obvious that footballing ability has NOTHING to do with Benitez’s continual snubbing of Crouch.

Every time Crouch has got going this season, Benitez as unceremoniously dumped him on the bench. Prime example: Crouch scores 2 against Besiktas; creates a goal in the win against Fulham; scores against Austria and then scores a sublime goal against Croatia.

This was a player on a roll, scoring and creating goals. What does Benitez do? Does he capitalize on the abilities of a player who is clearly high on confidence? No. He dumps him on the bench for next 2 games.

It’s almost as if Benitez wants Crouch to fail, as has done everything he can to damage Crouch’s confidence this season. To his credit though, Crouch keeps coming back and delivering the goods, which illustrates his admirable strength of character – a trait that all proper LFC players possess

Benitez's treatment of Peter Crouch is indefensible and defies logic or reason. I support Rafa in his spat against the US owners, but if he is indeed sacked over the issue, he will merely experience the bitter taste of his own medicine.


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