5 Feb 2009

When is Rafa Benitez's blatant and damaging favouritism towards Dirk Kuyt going to end?

In light of his shameful treatment of Robbie Keane, how long are Liverpool fans going to have to put up with Rafael Benitez's favourtism towards Dirk Kuyt?

So let's clarify: Robbie Keane is unceremoniously dumped after 6 months, in which time he is substituted or on the bench for 28 out of 33 games. In comparison, Dirk Kuyt has started 95% of Liverpool's games over the last two years and hardly ever scores or contributes creatively, but he stays at the club?!

Am I missing something here?

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

In a recent eulogy about Kuyt, Rafa displayed once again that he is suffering from the same blinkered favouritism as Houllier, when he stated:

"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 - He hasn't scored for the last 14 games and has only managed a paltry 2 goals from his last 21 appearances!

To be fair, Kuyt no longer plays as a striker but his creative return as a wide player is similarly negligible – 13 assists in the last 100 games.

Kuyt's depressing statistics make Rafa's dumping of Robbie Keane look all the more ludicrous, especially since Keane's creative return is superior to Kuyt's, who pretty much starts every game and always gets a run in the team irrespective of his poor performances.

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 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 another 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, Xabi Alonso, and now Robbie Keane, Rafa is going down the same path as Houllier, and the team is suffering – and will continue to suffer – as a result.

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. absolutely right. If Benitez sticks with his 4-5-1 system with Gerrard in the middle we ned a fast attacking right winger who can cross the ball. Why we didn't get Lennon for keane I don't know. I think Benitez is losing it. Kuyt was signed as a striker and couldn't cut the mustard so Benitez moved him to wide player to spare his blushes. It's a shame he couldn't give Keane more time or sell crouch. What is going on with our manager. I am starting to feel his time is coming to an end

  2. i agree completely about kuyt, but i think what you're a bit harsh on heskey, micheal owen finished top or joint top scorer three seasons in a row with heskey along side him, because of his strength and power and movement, its no coincidence wigan are where they they are now (even tho he's moved on). personally i think his blind faith in lucas is much more damaging than that of kuyt,while kuyt is generally ineffective, he is rarely in a position to give away silly free-kicks, in and around the box as lucas has done in his last 3 games.

  3. I agree, Aaron Lennon would be infinitely preferable to Kuyt on the right.

    Re Heskey - perhaps I need to take a retrospective look at Heskey but from what I recall, Emile was similar to Kuyt in that he didn't score or create regularly enough.

    Also agree awith yout point about Lucas - another one of Rafa's underachieving favourites.

  4. i think if statistics are being brought up here, we should be fair and look up how much more kuyt brings to his game, with his "headless chicken" runs. It is these runs that constantly apply pressure on the opposition. His work rate includes him helping out tremendously in the defensive aspect of his game. so i think its fair to say that while he may not be the prolific scorer we all hope him to be, neither can he be the best winger in the world, i think kuyt has a balance in his abilities that rafa likes. there can be no doubting his attitude, work rate, drive and commitment to the team.
    -just my 2 cents worth-
    scoot, singapore

  5. Scoot - You're spot on about Kuyt's value to the team. He does work hard and his defensive work is excellent, qualities that make him the living embodiment of Rafa's footballing philosophy.

    The question is, what is Kuyt's responsibility to the team? Is it just to ceaselessy defend, or is it to provide some kind of consistent attacking threat?

    I would argue it is - or should be - the latter.

    Rafa's favouritism means that Liverpool have had to do without a genuine creative force in the team on the right - this has undoubtedly had a detrimantal effect.

    I attribute no blame to Dirk Kuyt over this - he pulls on the shirt and does his best like a good professional. Rafa is to blame for allowing this to go on for so long, and for refusing to give other, more creative players a chance in Kuyt's place.

    Instead of spending £20m on Keane in the summer, Rafa should have made it his PRIORITY to buy the most creative right midfielder/link man in Liverpool's budget. He didn't and that is his failure.

    The more he persists with Kuyt, the more creatively bereft Liverpool will continue to be. Just look at how many draws Liverpool have had recently - 13 league draws last season and 9 so far this season. If Liverpool had a more creative threat outside Gerrard and Torres, perhaps some of those draws could have been turned into wins, and who knows where the club could be now...

  6. we should never have got rid of luis garcia, although highly frustrating at times he did have that creative spark to unlock packed defences, i peronally miss him

  7. Long time viewer of the site, first time poster.

    Glad to see you are back writing Jaimie, as I always have a look to see whats on Lpoolkop. You always speak the truth on here, and although sometimes i find it hard to validate my arguments with fellow Lpool supporters who have blind faith in the "Rafa we trust" regime, your opinions give me reminders of whats really goin on.
    Kuyt is such a frustrating player, and,as you say, there is no room for sentiment when it comes to wanting success for the club we support. The only way Kuyt will go imo, will be for Rafa to precede him.

  8. Kuyt will never be a player that will score 20 goals per season in the premier league, and show flashy football.

    Instead of that, Kuyt is a team player, like Benitez said, a player that any team can use. Kuyt does his work in the background and plays a very important role in the team. Remember Holland completely crushing Italy and France in the European Championship, 3-0 and 4-1?
    In both matches, Kuyt was part of the first eleven.

    Also, if you look at Feyenoord, Feyenoord has never played top 5 anymore, since Kuyt left. Kuyt was the captain and one of the best players that Feyenoord had in years.

  9. watta bout Ashley Young and David Silva?? do u think we need sum wingers like that???

  10. He's not liverpool class. Simple. He was signed as a striker. What is he doing on the wing? He's innefective and doesn't create. Do you think he'd get a game for the gooners? No. Says it all doesn't it?