27 Aug 2008

Rafa suffering from Houllieresque delusions of blandeur?

Rafa's latest glowing review of Dirk Kuyt proves that his blind faith in the staggeringly ineffective 'attacker' shows no sign of abating, which is bad news for Liverpool fans everywhere.

Gerard Houllier had illogical blind faith in some of his most ineffective players, most notably Emile Heskey. *shudder*

Like Kuyt, Heskey's goal-threat seriously diminished over time to the extent that he became a liability to the attacking momentum and forward progress of the team.

Much to the chagrin of many fans, Houllier would defend Heskey at every opportunity and sing his praises in the press even when he was playing badly.

With his latest eulogy about Kuyt, Rafa seems to be suffering from the same blinkered favouritism as Houllier:

"He [Kuyt] is a very, very good player for any team or squad. He's a fantastic professional who can score goals, and his work rate is amazing”.

Aaaagh! If I have to hear the 'work rate' cliché one more time! So he runs 10 miles a game and has amazing stamina. BIG DEAL. Where is the end product? Kuyt is supposed to be an attacking player but what exactly does he bring to the team in an attacking capacity?

And I have to take issue with the 'can score goals' part. Kuyt can score goals?! That's news to me. His last premiership goal was on November 24th 2007.

27 games later and he's still drawing a blank, so when exactly are we going to see these fabled goals of which Rafa speaks so highly?

To be fair, Kuyt no longer plays as a striker but his creative return as a wide player is similarly negligible – 6 assists in the last 52 games.

According to Rafa, Kuyt is a player that “any manager would want in his squad”. Really? I guess that explains why every top manager in the world is busting a gut to try and sign this creative goalscoring wonder-player.

At least Rafa is honest about one thing when he says Kuyt is “always the same in every game”. Absolutely right – he is always the same bland, unexciting workaholic who carries no goal threat and brings nothing to Liverpool's attacking game.

I can understand Rafa trying to boost Kuyt's confidence ahead of the Standard Liege game but when is he going to wake up and realise that regularly playing Kuyt is detrimental to the progress of the team?!

I know it's not Kuyt's fault for being picked every week - and I apologise if it seems like I'm being too harsh on him - but there is no room for sentiment when it comes to football.

The plain fact is this: Kuyt is just not good enough. End of story. Rafa should accept this and get rid of him before he becomes a laughing stock for persisting with such a blatantly ineffective player.

The only reason that I can see for Rafa's allegiance to the creatively barren Kuyt is favouritism. As a comparison, look at Rafa's treatment of Peter Crouch. Compared with Kuyt, his creative return was OUTSTANDING, with a ratio of one goal scored/created every two games.

To the detriment of the team, Rafa repeatedly ignored Crouch and played Kuyt in his place when it was patently obvious that Crouch was the better option.


Favouritism, pure and simple.

Houllier was the same – he would ceaselessly defend his favourites and treat players he didn't like with contempt, even if the players he didn't like were more effective for the team.

With his appalling treatment of the likes of Crouch, John Arne Riise, Steve Finnan and Xabi Alonso, Rafa is going down the same path as Houllier, and the team is suffering – and will continue to suffer – as a result.

Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of football can see that Kuyt is NOT THE ANSWER to Liverpool's right midfield problem!

Alas, it seems depressingly clear that Rafa's enthusiasm for Dirk Kuyt is growing not fading, so we are faced with the galling prospect of having to endure Kuyt's peerless brand of headless chickenry for the foreseeable future.

God help us.


  1. Your comments dont seem to recognise that what Rafa values above all else is the work ethic. Kuyt is a player that offers attacking threat and therefore opens gaps for other players such as Torres (he acknowleged as much himself) equally importantly he is particularly effective at breaking up attacks from the opposition. Rafa believes (as do most modern managers) that a team must defend and attack as a unit otherwise you create gaps that the opposition can use

  2. I think I referred to Rafa's comments about Kuyt's work rate. Maybe it's just me, but I want attacking players to carry some kind of consistent attacking threat. Kuyt does not.

    I'm sick of seeing Kuyt playing as a second right back, chasing and harrying all the time when he should be attacking. You win games by scoring and creating goals NOT by endlessly defending.

    The question we should be asking is this: Is Kuyt the best possible attacking option for Liverpool on the right? The answer is resoundingly NO. There are plenty of right-sided players in world football who could do an infinitely superior job to Kuyt but Rafa has failed to act.

    Just imagine the damage this team could do if we had a Steve McManaman type player causing havoc on the right.

  3. I always concur with most of what you say in your blogs. They are a refreshing change to the usual, on-bended-knee worshiping that true Liverpool/football fans have to endure. You correctly point out that it's not Kuyt's fault he is picked to play, but the managers. Playing a simple triangle would keep Kuyt entertained for hours, would seem. It comes back to the manager every time.

    Opening gaps is something that is lauded as a specialist skill these days. Surely someone is available who has ability to, a) trap a ball b) not give the ball away, and c) run into space to create gaps. Basic stuff. Work and commitment is a players minimum requirement with LFC. Attacking guile is what we require on at least one wing, if not both. Kuyt, under Rafa's reign, is the definition of a square peg in a round hole.

    The same can be said of Rafa's persistence with Arbeloa, when plainly, even the dogs on the street can see he is "not good enough".

  4. I completely agree with you, it is amazing when you watch games to actually witness kuyt playing on the wing, he is actually worse then pennant.

    I am not convinced that Kuyt is completely useless currently playing him from the start of the game is limiting our options in the second halve.

    Instead of swapping Keane and Babel (which is like for like) late in games to me it makes much more sense to swap Keane for Kuyt. If playing the ball on the deck is not working then we should try in that last 15 minutes to play the ball in high to kuyt in an advanced role.

  5. Kuyt is the best attacker on the planet... when you need to defend a lead. He does an extremely competent defender as compared to other players at his position. But, that really shouldn't be a focus for an attacker.

    As you point out, Kuyt is not at fault. He doesn't pick the squad, or where he plays. I would like to see one of two things happen: Kuyt starts on the bench and comes in late in games up front or right, when we need to protect a lead. Or, lets try using him as a wingback on the right. I think that could be interesting.

  6. The above comment evidently does not mind grinding his teeth to powder after seeing kuyt lose control of the ball with no pressure on him. I use to laugh at Tony Daly for his brand of running as hard as he could without producing anythng. Kuyt does the same without the pace.