5 Apr 2008

PETER CROUCH: Suffering the effects of the 'Benitez Effect'

After not starting a premiership game for nearly 4 months, Peter Crouch has scored against Arsenal and once again proved what a valuable asset he is to Liverpool FC. His latest goal also adds weight to something I have been arguing all season: Start Crouch and he will invariably score or create a goal for you.

Rafael Benitez has granted Crouch a pathetic total of 7 premiership starts this season, which is utterly indefensible. It gets worse – in all competitions, Crouch has been given a starting berth in a measly 16 games.

His other appearances have been 5 minute cameos as a sub, with precious little time to make any impact. Such treatment would be enough to shatter anyone’s confidence, but despite this, Crouch’s statistics remain impressive:

Premiership 2007/08
7 starts
Goals: 3
Assists: 3

CL Games
4 starts
Goals: 3

FA Cup
4 starts
Goals: 2
Assists: 1

Carling Cup
3 starts
Goals: 0

3 starts
Goals: 2

Totals – All competitions

Starts – 21
Goals – 10
Assists: 7

Crouch’s goal record from STARTS this season is 1 in 2. Add his assists on and he scores or creates a goal in almost every game he starts.

Combining Crouch’s DOMESTIC starting stats from last season and this season, we get the following results:

Starts – 43
Goals – 27
Assists – 11

So – Crouch has scored or created 38 goals from his last 43 starts!

Despite these excellent statistics, Crouch just can’t get a game for Liverpool. It's ridiculous really, and it is my view that Benitez has mismanaged Crouch over the last year, and failed to treat the player fairly when it comes to starting games.

I really hope Crouch stays, but he needs to be starting games regularly, and for the sake of his career, he should move on somewhere else where his talents will be properly appreciated.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. It might be fairer to view his goals/assists in relation to minutes played; though I'm sure he'd still do quite well. Personally, I hope he stays. Maybe next year Rafa would give him more of a go. This season, the uber success of Fernando Torres has taken everyone a bit by surprise and at a critical point in the season Rafa has decided to stick with his talisman striker. This year the team has spread the goals around: there is Torres with 28 and Gerrard with 19--but also Kuyt and Benayoun with 10 each, Crouch with 9 and Babel with 8!

  2. Yeah the recent success without Crouch touching the pitch was dreadful.

  3. I'm personally of mixed opinion on this.

    I thought crouch was excellent against arsenal and i was pissed off when he was replaced, i was expecting benitez to bring torres on to partner him for the final 15 mins. Instead he brings on the inept Voronin.

    I'd like to see crouch start more games with torres, i think that partnership has real potential, push gerrard out to the right where hed surely be more effective than kuyt (kuyt is playing well to be fair).

    The one problem with crouch in my opinion tho, is his shots to goals ratio, yeah hes scored a good avg to games started, but his goals to shots ratio must be appalling, too many times have i seen him waste chance after chance (blackburn last season). If he was a touch more clinical in front of goal, id luv him.

    For the first time in the last four years, benitez has decided to keep a settled team. Hes made a minimal (for him) amount of changes going into matches and crouch has been a victim of this. Its a shame for him , but for once benitez is doing the right thing!

    I hope to see an article on the recent arsenal games too, I think Fabio Aurelio has been in great form recently and itd be nice to hear him get a mention.

    Also the debut performnce of Plessis was extremely encouraging, as was Lievas. And yet another fine performance from my player of the month Martin Skrtel.

  4. i'm afraid if we start with crouch more often, there will be more critics. mainly, "liverpool is a long ball team".... cirtics... you'll never beat them. how did crouch score?? from a long ball. route 1.

    i like crouch and i like to see him play more games. it's just sad that the team start to play well with a formation and confidence that would mean its best to leave him out.

    rafa will never escape criticism. change formation? critics will say he shouldnt have changed anything and stick to a winning formula the moment he loses a game.

    crouch can play the role of torres and torres play on the right ala kuyt. but if that game doesnt work, critics will ask why our most prolific and expensive player is playing wide. oh... forget about playing crouchie wide. it's just a bad idea.

    start with crouch and NOT torres? the above applies. the EPL game at emirates being exceptional due to obvious circumstances.

    keep starting crouch, and we get the route 1 team label. you'll never win.

  5. I agree with 'Anon' I'm afraid. I would love Crouch to get more games but in the current formation he just doesn't fit - it's not that he's not good enough - he just doesn't fit the system. Personally, I prefer the 4-2-3-1 formation - it's one that worked so well at Valencia when Rafa was there. (Also worked for Brazil in 2002 World Cup & Portugal in 2004). Crouch is one of those players that could be tagged an impact player as he creates new problems when he comes on (think of Inter Milan recently). I think you could play with a 4-4-2 if you moved Gerrard out to the right (he did, after all, win his PFA Player of the Year award in '06 in that position).
    With Crouch I feel you move from the sublime to ridiculous (great touches and technique, then will put a sitter over the bar when you most need him to score).
    In the current system would you choose Gerrard or Crouch? I think that's an easy decision.
    Anon #2

  6. For me, I think it's so damn hard to play as a starter if u compete with Torres who stays fit and play so deadly in front of the goals...
    Crouch left because he worried his place at England team because lack of chance..
    Rafa had tried to kept him at the club before