1 Dec 2007

John Aldridge: Crouch must stay

Liverpool goalscoring legend John Aldridge has joined the ever growing band of people calling for Peter Crouch to be given a fair chance in the Liverpool team, arguing that Crouch must not be sold in January and should be given a regular starting berth alongside Fernando Torres.

As I have repeatedly argued in my articles, Crouch's impact on Liverpool is beyond dispute, and Aldo agrees:

"Crouch’s goals per minute ratio must be incredible because he’s not playing every game and when he is involved it tends to be as a substitute but he’s still scoring plenty. The goal he got on Wednesday night [Against Porto] was a perfect example of what he can do. Some defences just don’t know how to cope with him because of his height and they become so confused that he ends up scoring a free header from the edge of the six yard box".

Against Porto, Liverpool lost their way in the second half, and the game could easily have been lost. It was only with the introduction of Crouch and Harry Kewell that things started to change. Aldridge observed:

"It was tight and it was nip and tuck at 1-1 and there was a time when the game could have gone either way. But then...with Peter Crouch and Harry Kewell coming on and... everything changed and Liverpool ended up running out comfortable winners. I think the way Liverpool went on to score three more goals against a side which doesn’t normally concede goals shows just how important Crouch is".

It is obvious to everyone except Rafa that Liverpool's best strike partnership is Crouch and Fernando Torres. Ignoring Crouch for terminally ineffective Dirk Kuyt (who plays more like a midfielder than a striker) is ridiculous, especially given Crouch's superior goal stats, technique and team play. Aldridge also believes that Crouch/Torres should be Liverpool's number one strike team:

"I’ve been banging on all season about how I think Crouch and Torres is Liverpool’s best partnership up front and I’d love to see them being given a run of games together. I know Rafa likes to play Voronin or Kuyt in behind Torres but, to me, we just look a much greater threat and much more likely to score when he goes with Crouch. Whenever I look at Liverpool’s striking options I keep on coming to the same conclusions – Crouch and Torres are definitely the best bet".

This backed up by the stats, with Crouch and Torres scoring 15 goals and providing 2 assists in 23 combined starts. This strike rate blows any other Liverpool partnership out of the water, yet Benitez continues to ignore it.

In the last couple of days, Benitez has stated publicly that Crouch is not for sale. I would love to believe that Benitez is being sincere, but given his second rate treatment of Crouch this season, I do not believe it for a second. John Aldridge also wants Crouch to stay:

"There is so much speculation that Crouch might move in January. The manager says he has no problem with the players and the player says he has no problem with the manager so hopefully Crouch will still be with Liverpool after the transfer window has closed because I think it will be good for the club if he is".

The Bolton game this weekend is exactly the type of game in which Crouch should be playing. He was bought, in part, to provide a threat in the more 'physical' games against the likes of Bolton and Blackburn. I have no doubt that Crouch will be on the bench again though, ignored in favour of Dirk Kuyt, who scored last when the ball rebounded off his legs and ended up in the net.

Clearly a greater goal threat than Crouchie!


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