25 Apr 2009

Ryan Babel: Another victim of the 'Benitez effect'. And that's a 'FACT'.

Holland coach Marco Van Basten recently criticised Rafael Benitez’s handling of Ryan Babel, noting that the player had taken a step backward since his arrival at Anfield. A harsh assessment? Not if you look at the facts; and having examined the facts, Benitez’s truly appalling treatment of the player is depressingly clear.

Van Basten argued: “If you look at Ryan Babel, it is a mortal sin he now sits on the bench at Liverpool. He was playing well in Holland and for the Under-21s but now he has taken a step backwards.”

Babel cost £11.5m and inarguably has huge potential - the question is has he been given the chance to fulfil that potential?

The answer is resoundingly and unequivocally NO.

As we've all seen, Rafa loves his facts, so let’s consider some facts about Ryan Babel:

2007-08: Babel’s first season

50 appearances

Starts - 29
Subbed – 21 times
On the bench - 24 times
Unused sub – 4 games


Subbed or on the bench in 82% of games
Subbed in 72% of games started
Scored 11 goals. On 10 occasions, dropped to the bench for the next game.


38 appearances

Starts – 9
Subbed – 4 times
On the bench – 25 times
Unused sub – 6 times

Subbed or benched in 76% of games
Subbed in 44% of games started


88 appearances

38 Starts
Subbed – 25 times
On the bench – 49 times
Unused sub – 10 times

Subbed or on the bench in 84% of games
Subbed in 66% of starts

Taking into account unused sub status

In the squad 93 times
Subbed or on the bench in 90% games

With these figures in mind, consider the following questions:

1. Has Babel been given any kind of chance to establish himself at Liverpool?

2. Has he been allowed to flourish in any way?

3. Has he been allowed a consistent run of games *ever*?

4. Given the fact that in his first season, he was dropped to the bench TEN TIMES after scoring goals, has he been treated fairly in this respect?

5. Is there any justification for such treatment of the player?

The most important question for me is this: Do we want players to be treated this way at Liverpool FC?

The answer has to be no, yet some pigheaded fans just refuse to accept the truth that Rafa’s treatment of certain players over the years has been simply inexcusable.

Fans often seem to criticise Babel for his alleged lack of drive during his sporadic appearances, but how would you react when your manager has damaged your career, never given you a fair chance and made it abundantly clear that he has no faith in you?

Robbie Keane is another example of a player Benitez has treated in a similarly inexcusable manner: Keane was subbed or on the bench in 28 of his 33 appearances, which equates to 85% of games.

I've heard countless fans come up with the same ridiculous arguments: 'Keane missed a few sitters so he deserved to be on the bench'; or 'Keane did nothing when he was on the pitch'.

What a load of cretinous drivel.

For some reason, the 'Rafa can do no wrong' brigade are unwilling to accept that it is practically impossible for a player to get into any kind of rhythm/build understanding with team-mates/build confidence etc when subjected to the kind of treatment meted out to Keane, Babel, and before them, Peter Crouch.

Another pertinent point to consider: With Keane and Babel, Benitez has totally wasted over £30m of the club’s money.


And that's not including salaries.

I have absolutely no doubt that if allowed to actually play consistently, both Keane and Babel could have been very effective players for the club. Instead, Benitez has subjected them both to career damaging periods of endless inactivity, for which there is no excuse.

This kind of treatment is one of the principal reasons I am not a fan of Benitez and his way of doing things. Treating players with such contempt (which is what it basically amounts to), does not fit with the philosophy of the club and - IMO - is not behaviour befitting a manager of Liverpool FC.

Fans might not care about the likes of Keane and Babel, but just watch them change their tune when one of their favourites starts suffering from the Benitez effect.

If Ryan Babel wants to save his career and actually progress as a player, he has only one option: leave Liverpool and go to a club where he will treated fairly and given a consistent chance to prove himself.

For any player, leaving Liverpool can only be a step down, but Benitez has made it unambiguously clear that he is NEVER going to give Babel a proper chance.

To stay at the club under the Benitez regime would be career suicide.


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  1. who would you have left on the bench to accomodate Babel and Keane? Is Babel better than Nani or Keane better than Tevez, both sit on Utds bench... and dont whinge.

    I agree he should go but that is coz he isnt prepared to work on winning a place and would rather complain and moan.... just like Keane.

  2. Babel hasn't been good enough to start for Liverpool. FACT. When he does come on he does nothing. FACT. Get shot of him and use the money on the right. In Rafa we trust.

  3. the liverpool system in place and one that has won crucial points particularly against man u is based on the FACT that ALL players carry defensive duties when the team is not in possession of the ball. Keane and babbel have not made it to the first team simply because they left gaps or were not defensively effective as should be. That is why babbel has been told to shore up his defensive side of the game which till now has not improved.

  4. Yes - god forbid that creative sensibilities should be priotised above defensive duty!

    Benitez places too much pressure on attacking players to defend; under Houllier and Benitez, defence has never been the problem! Creativity has - and is - the problem.

    Attacking players should defend, yes, but at the extent of their attacking instincts. Jesus, if Lionel Messi was at Anfield, would he flourish? NO. Benitez would demand that he runs 20 miles a game and defends for 60% of the time.

    I hate this kind of attitude. Did John Barnes defend like Dirk Kuyt? Did Dalglish? Beardsley? NO. It is not necessary. Liverpool's philosophy used to be MAKE THE OTHER TEAM DEFEND, not 'Let's play not to lose'.

    Yes, the team has been playing well recently, but in the context of 5 years of underachievement in the league it doesn't really count for much.

  5. well babel is a good player but he need to be more patient...look at tevez...he's very very good striker..and he sit on the bench all the time but he has never said something that he want to leave or something like that...even if he sit on the bench he want to stay at MAN.UTD....
    will come ur time babel, be sure man...:)

  6. Surprise, surprise another negative, anti Benitez piece.

    It's not just Babel's inability to defend, it's more his inability to control the ball and make the right decisions - he's been a poor signing, you can have that. Every club has their fair share of them, that's football.

    And for the record - Dalglish had an incredibly high work-rate, but more importantly he ws a great footballer unlike Babel.

  7. Babel does not have an 'inibility to defend' at all. If that's the case, name one example of Babel's defensive ineptitude leading to a goal scored against the club. In fact, give me one example of where this alleged defensive inability has had even the slightest negative impact.

    The defensive thing is just another baseless generalisation regurgitated from the pages of countless daily rags.

    Let's focus on the things we CAN prove about Babel:

    Subbed or on the bench in nearly 90% of his LFC appearances.

    Maybe you can justify that in bizarro world but in the real world it's a disgrace.

    And I'm aware that Dalglish had a high work rate, but he wasn't forced to prioritise defence over attack; he didn't have to defend to the extent someone like Dirk Kuyt defends.

    And why do our attacking players need to defend so much anyway? Jesus H Christ - we have 4 defenders and two holding midfielders for frig's sake! Isn't that enough to allow our attackers to focus more on attacking?!

  8. I suggest you go and read up on Saachi's Milan. Much of Rafa's philosophy is based on that and while your at it, go and read Rinus Michels "Team Builing", you might learn something about football and be able to write something worthwhile, thought provoking and contsructive - but I guess that doesn't fit with your philosophy.

  9. The typical response of someone with an inibility to debate effectively. I'm not interested in Sacchi or Michels - I'm interested in Liverpool: pass and move philosophy; emphasis on attack, not defence; allowing creative players to express themselves, not be over-burdened by the defensive side of the game.

    That's the way it used to be and almost all of the club's considerable success is underpinned by this approach and the idea that Liverpool do not fear anyone - the opposition need to fear us.

    If future success can only be achieved my emasculating creative players to the extent that those similar in style to the likes of Barnes, Beardsley, MacManaman etc are never able to flourish at Liverpool, then you can have it.

    It is no coincidence that Liverpool have failed to find/develop ONE out and out flair player in the last 11 years. Houllier and Benitez both have a ridiculous over-emphasis on defence, which means creative players generally cannot flourish.

    And don't say Torres - he's a striker. I'm talking about Barnes/McManaman style players; dribblers; players who can unlock the stubbornest defences on a regular basis.

    Under Benitez, Barnes would fail; Beardsley would fail; McManaman would fail - their natural instincts would be curtailed by Benitez, which is exactly what has happened to Babel.

  10. With all due respect, Jaimie, you analysis is rather disingenuous and the article openly contradicts opinions you have expressed in the past.

    While the statistics you have provided may very well be true, you seem unwilling to recognise that a manager may well "waste 30 million" on some players only to find that their ability to adapt to the team framework has been found wanting.

    And let's be honest, Benitez is not the only manager to make mistakes in the transfer market. Fergie with Veron, and Mourinho with Schevchenko are two examples of even bigger "wastes" of money. And these were two putatively "world-class players" not budding talents, making their failure(s) arguably more worthy of condemnation of the manager's policy.

    Now this is not to say that either Keane or Babel are/were not good enough, but rather they have been unable to adapt to the team framework. Surely this can't ALL be Rafa's fault.

    It has been well-documented that Rafa wants Babel to improve on the defensive aspect of the game. Now this does not entail, despite your vehement assertions, the compromise of a players' creative side in order to accomodate Rafa's defensive mindset.

    The "fact" is that that Babel is talented, but not hardworking or good enough with respect to his defensive game. Now you have a tendency, Jaimie, to view Liverpool's history as some idealistic, utopic era where all the team did was play brilliant attacking football.

    This is simply not true. If you watch the "Hillsborough Remembered" documentary, Kenny Dalglish categorically states that the reason why the brilliant 1987-89 team was so successful was more to do with their hard-work, rather than their ineluctable attacking talent.

    Ian Rush, for instance, although renowned for his creative instincts and superlative finishing ability, was similarly lauded for his defensive ability - the incessant commitment to close down defenders or midfielders when Liverpool had lost the ball, in order to retrieve possession for the team.

    In this way, he was seen as the first line of defence in Dalglish's team, much like the way Torres (and Kuyt are). Thus, despite your argument, I would argue that it is vitally important for attacking players to have at least some semblance of defensive inclinations.

    Ryan Babel, patently, has been unable to exhibit these qualities. I don't think it's necessarily a case of the manager showing contempt, or not giving him a chance to prove himself. Many people forget that managers are able to observe players in training all week - surely this has certain implications.

    Now I can not profess to know what Benitez's motivations are, but I would suggest that having Babel in the team vitiates the organised, deliberate way in which the team is set up. Indeed, from a purely tactical standpoint, Riera is a better choice on the left because he provides natural width on that flank.

    Which begs the question - should Babel be playing on that flank at all? Again, it has been well-documented that Babel considers himself a striker - at Ajax he had played on the left side of an attacking three.

    Now it is not unheard of to play a striker on the wing either to develop his ability, or to make the best use of his pace. Wenger does it with Walcott at Arsenal, Rooney has played on the left wing countless times at United, as has Anelka at Chelsea.

    It might be posited that playing Babel on the wing is most effective in games where Liverpool need a goal or two - the opposing team has reverted to a defensive mindset. Thus, Babel's direct running style, his ability to take on a full-back, cut inside and either pass the ball or get a shot off at goal, proved invaluable last season, and admittedly, sporadic this season.

    The other alternative has been to play Babel as an out-and-out striker when Liverpool are defending a lead, and his electrifying pace is used to get in behind the opposition's defending line, where they have ostensibly left a lot of space in their search for a goal. We saw this when Babel scored against Arsenal in the Champions league last season, and when he replaced Torres in the semifinal against Chelsea as well.

    I honestly don't know what Babel's future is at Liverpool, but suffice to say, I am a massive fan and I hope he is able to fulfill his potential.

    Now I recognise that constant substitutions might have a bearing on a player's morale, particularly on one who is developing. But this is a necessary and ubiquitous part of the modern game!

    Contrary to the media myth, it is not only Rafael Benitez who practices squad rotation. Look at Tevez's lack of playing time at United this season. By all accounts, he performed extremely well last season, but Fergie deemed it necessary to play Berbatov instead, because of his tactical imperatives. Indeed, Dalglish was the target of virulent criticism for failing to play Beardsley enough! Let's try and have a memory longer than two seasons, please.

    A player who epitomises being able to deal with Benitez's rotation policy is Yossi Benayoun. He had expressed his dissatisfaction at sitting on the bench, but evidently, he has now reconciled his ambitions with the team's and the benefit has been obvious, particularly in the last few weeks.

    My point is that is easy to question the manager's actions but we do not have the benefit of knowing what his motivations are. To suggest that a manager deliberately mistreats players that he has himself purchased is counter-intuitive.

    If indeed a manager deems his purchase to be useless, it would still be in his interests to "give the player a chance" in order to secure a reasonable transfer fee for the player.

    Despite Rafa's supposed "mistreatment" of Keane and Crouch, he was still able to make a profit on Crouch's sale, and mitigate the losses on Keane's sale.

    I mean honestly, the manager HAS to be given credit for being able to recuperate THAT much on Keane's transfer. Bearing in mind that the player is approaching 30, had been "mistreated" by the manager because he was considered not good enough for the team, a 5 million loss is brilliant in my opinion.

    Finally, as I stated at the beginning of this very lengthy post, Jaimie, your current article overtly and unashamedly contradicts previous opinions that you have expressed on this site.

    On various occassions, you have opined that Babel is an example of the money that has been wasted on "creative cack" by Liverpool managers since Dalglish. You argue that these players are "low-grade" creative players who are "inferior" for a club of Liverpool's quality.

    Although you suggest in that article that some creative talents have been misused by managers, you have stated in other occasions that Babel is a "delicate doily" who does not have a "winning mentality" and is simply a "slightly more effective version of Emile Heskey".

    Which would lead a reader to discern that you simply do not rate Babel at all. If in your opinion Babel was not good enough to begin with, how then could he be "misused" by Benitez?

    To me, it looks like an employment of veritable stats to expeditiously facilitate a predictable criticism of Rafa Benitez. But that's just my opinion.

  11. Poor article and reflectspersonal bias, nothing to do with running a team.

  12. Kais-Sabir - that's one of the most succinctly put arguments I have ever read. Superb analysis and summary.

    Babel is a funny character. He arrived with promise and took the Premiership by storm. Sadly, after his first season, opposition teams had figured him out.

    As a left winger he ALWAYS wanted to come inside to get the shot off with his superb right foot so could be closed down quickly and stifled.

    As a striker he is not composed or able to get the ball under control quickly enough and as a right winger he cannot cross and is often forced to come inside on his non existent left foot.

    He will also keep his head down and frustrate his team mates, whose runs are wasted, by hanging on to the ball too long and not seeing the movement around him.

    Along with a need to have 10 yards to get the ball under control, he is predictable and easy to defend against in the fast paced Premiership.

    He obviously has talent, but he needs to be playing elsewhere in Europe to be able to show it. In the meantime he should keep his mouth shut and show some respect to his team mates who constantly out perform him and are more deserving of a place in the starting lineup.

    I'm not sure where Jaimie is coming from, but listening to him whine, you wouldn't think that Rafa had taken us closer to the title than any manager for years and taken us to 2 European Cup finals. Not only that, but he has the beetroot blusterer well and truly riled which is almost as good as a cup win.

    Year on year improvement is a FACT. Look up the word 'supporter' in the dictionary, Jaimie. You may just learn something...

  13. Kais-Sabir, that was brilliant!!!! Quality post, delivered blindingly.

  14. Superb response kais-sabir!a brilliant and factual read.Well done!

  15. Excellent points, Kais - re my previous opinions about Babel - I was going to include reference to those in the article but decided against it because the point I'm making is completely separate to those opinions.

    I have in the past had a problem with what I perceive to be Babel's maddening lack of self-belief, but given his treatment by Benitez, it is easy to see how it could be tough for him to develop a winning mentality at Anfield.

    And Babel is my 'cut-price cack', article but only because he has turned out to be a waste of money - not through his own fault, but through mismanagement.

    If a player cannot adapt to the framework of the team then in my view, the blame lies with the manager, especially when the manager fails to properly consider how the player will fit into the team before purchase.

    This is definitely the case with Robbie Keane. Liverpool had finally found a winning formula, playing Gerrard behind Torres in a 4231 formation. It was *obvious* that Keane would not fit into that formation, and if Benitez was not going to play Keane in his preferred position *consistently*, then what was the point in spending £20?

    Usually, if you spend that kind of money on a player, the plan is to play them regularly, is it not?

    With Keane, Benitez played him on the wing, played him upfront alone and *rarely if ever* played him in his natural position. Keane's 'failure' is nothing to do with him; it is almost solely down to Benitez.

    Re Babel fitting into the team - We're always told how in-depth LFC's scouting network is and how much Rafa examines players before he buys them. Well, why did he buy Babel if he couldn't fit in or there was some question over his ability?

    Babel could undoubtedly fit in IF he was given a consistent chance - he has not been given that chance. And why could Babel NOT play upfront?! Why go out and get Andrei Vorinin when we have Babel who can do the job?

    And I never suggested that Benitez was the only manager to make mistakes in the transfer market. I'm not interested in Man U and Chelsea - what do Shevchenko and Veron have to do with the points I'm making? Absolutely nothing.

    You say it is well documented that Rafa wants Babel to improve the defensive side of his game. Where? Please provide links to examples of this. If it's so well documented, that should be easy.

    And what proof is there that Babel is 'not hardworking enough or good enough with respect to his defensive game'? Whenever a player is not making fireworks it seems these same old baseless excuses are trotted out.

    As I argued above, Babel does not need to defend like a madman. Left/right wingers should not have to waste all their energy constantly defending. And again, since we ostensibly play with six defensive-minded players on the pitch, where is the need for such an overly defensive approach?

    I'm well aware of the strengths of the 87-89 team, and yes, the team did work hard but there is no comparison with today's team and Rafa's approach. The likes of Barnes, Beardsley and Houghton did not have to run around like headless chickens for 90 minutes chasing players all over the pitch like Dirk Kuyt does; that team defended by attacking. Keeping the ball in the opposition half is the best way to defend.

    Yes, it is important for attacking players to have defensive duties, but not to the extent that their creative instincts are curtailed.

    The proof is in the pudding - the majority of creative players at LFC over the last 11 years have been stifled and marginalised in preference for strength and stamina - Emile Heskey was the embodiment of the stamina over skill ideal in Houllier era and Dirk Kuyt is the embodiment of the same in the Benitez era.

    These players symbolise how the creative emphasis has changed at Liverpool. Our last two managers want players who will Defend FIRST and attack second.

    During the Dalglish era, it was attack FIRST and defend second for creative players. This is absolutely beyond dispute, and anyone who has regularly watched and examined games from the Dalglish era will agree that this is true.

    and what exactly does the ability to make a profit on a player have to do with who they're treated at the club? Liverpool made a profit on Crouch because he is a damn good player, despite Benitez's failure to utilise him for the benefit of the team.

    And mitigating the loss on Keane's does not change the fact that £20m was wasted on a player the team did not need and could not support.

    You have a habit of bringing issues into the discussion that have nothing to do with what's being debated. Where in the article did I criticise Benitez's rotation policy?

    Nowhere. And what other teams do regarding rotation is irrelevant to this discussion. Keane and Babel were not victims of rotation; they were victims of abject mismanagement.

    I would argue that the Yossi Benayoun argument has no real merit, especially since he has suffered similar treatment to Babel. You infer that he has reconciled himself to Benitez's way of doing things, but based on what? The fact he's played a few games lately? He's also defied Benitez over playing for his country and spoken publicly of his frustration at not being able to play more regularly.

    Re Peter Beardsley and Dalglish - Beardsley was at the club from 87-91, and between 87 and 90 he was at the top of the appearance charts for the club:

    87-88: 48 games (Top was Steve Nicol with 50)

    88-89: 49 games (Top was Ray Houghton with 50)

    89-90: 41 games (Top was Bruce Grobbealaar with 50)

    90-91: 35 games (He was injured just before the Christmas period and missed almost a month and a half of the season as a result)

    So, considering Beardsley's appearance records, when was Dalglish supposedly vilified for not playing Beardsley enough? I don't recall this at all. Furthermore, it seems unlikely given the fact Beardsley was one of LFC's regular performers, as the figures above attest.

    Finally, I'll reiterate - I've never really rated Babel, but that has nothing to do with his ability and everything to do with his mentality.

    Having said that, it is my belief that no player is able to build a strong winning mentality when they are constantly made to feel worthless by their manager.

    If Benitez had given Babel a 10th of the faith, encouragment and opportunity that Dirk Kuyt has received, we'd probably be seeing a different player right now. And let's not forget that Kuyt has put in numerous poor performances over the years combined with many barren spells without goals.

    Does Benitez drop him all the time? No. He gives him a chance, even when he doesn't deserve it.

    The we have Babel, who manages to score 11 goals and provides 6 assists in his first season *despite* being subbed/benched in 82% of games!

    Is this not an admirable achievement that proves he has the potential to do well?

    If he can contribute directly or indirectly to 16 goals whilst spending 80% of his time on the bench or being subbed, just imagine what he could do if he spent 80% of his time actually ON THE PITCH.

  16. Just to address a couple of points I missed:

    If, as you suggest, Babel's prescence in the team 'vitiates the organised, deliberate way in which the team is set up', why did Benitez spend £11.5m on a player who would disrupt his team?!

    Once again, as with the Keane situation, it's a case of Benitez not properly considering how Babel would fit into the team before buying him. Are we to believe that Benitez blindly bought Babel without knowing anything about his playing style, attitude, temperment etc? Of course not.

    And you do not spend £11.5m on a player with the intention of keeping them on the bench for 80% of games. Babel was bought for the first team but the irrefutable fact is he has not been allowed to develop and progress within the team.

    It's great that you recognise that 'constant substitutions might have a bearing on a player's morale, particularly on one who is developing' (don't understate the issue or anything!) but I disagree with the contention that 'this is a necessary and ubiquitous part of the modern game!'.

    That may be the case for squad players/reserve players making the step up, but it is not generally the case for players costing £11m+

    And allowing players who cost big money to waste away on the bench for 80-90% of games per season is definitely the exception, not the rule.

    You use Carlos Tevez as an comparison to Babel when it comes to rotation. I mentioned in the post above, this is an irrelevent subject; but since you bring it up...

    Last season, Tevez started 41 games for United. This season, he has started 33 games so far, and has regularly over the season had runs in the team where he has started 5 consecutive games or more.

    This is a world away from how Babel is utlilised by Benitez, so the comparison is clearly pointless.

  17. Jaimie, thank you for your response. In light of the expansive nature of your response, I won't be able to respond immediately, for lack of time due to academic commitments. However I will reply soon.

    By the way, here is one link about Benitez wanting to Babel to improve the defensive side of his game:


    Cheers. Kais.

  18. Thanks Kais. I must confess that I hadn't seen that article, but since it's only 4 days old that;s hardly surprising.

    I think the comments Babel makes in the article just underline my point about the excessive focus on defence that Benitez tries to instill into attacking players.

    And when the players do not meet his defensive expectation - which I believe is too harsh - then they are marginalised.

    I continue to contend that Benitez chokes the life out of creative players by demanding too much from them when it comes to defensive duties.

  19. Kais - An article by you arguing why Benitez is not to blame for Babel's 'failure' is in order ;-)

  20. Haha it might be entitled "Babel, Crouch, Keane: There is no agenda". I'm just waiting to write that last exam, Jaimie ;-)

  21. If we are so defensive , why are we the top scorers in the league?

    Why have we got the highest average goals scored per game in the league?

    Why have we gone to old trafford and scored 4 ?

    Why have we gone to stamford bridge and scored 4?

    If that is being defensive then I`ll take that label every season.

    i know this isnt strictly to do with Babel but you keep banging this rafa is defensive drum, and its just not true this season.

  22. It’s a crying shame that Babel looks like he’s leaving.
    He has the potential to become the best attacking player in the Liverpool team.
    He’s not just an athlete; he has a good footballing brain.
    Confidence is vital to a young players potential. It makes the player that he grows up to be.

    For instance C.Ronaldo was given the number 7 shirt and was treated like he was going to be the best. His confidence is sky high now and he has grown up thinking he’s the best.

    Where as nani the same kind of player with as much talent, wasn’t dealt with in the same way.

    All I can say is I wish him the best of luck and I hope he becomes the player that he’s destined to be.

  23. Excellent debates going on here. Personally, I feel Babel is not good and nowhere fit to be in the Liverpool side. He lacks of character to be in a team, that strives to be champions in the EPL.

    Now, let's look at our rival team, Man U. Though I'm a liverpool fan, myself for almost twenty years, i do admired their team's fighting spirit and their attitude, most importantly. What Ferguson had built over the two decades. He will never allow a player's pride taking over his team.

    Babel is too overwhelmed by his pride and only knows how to complain for not getting to play much. When he does that, he is undermining the team's spirit.

    He is not a good player at all as he can't deliver at all. U think just by his few impressed tricks, turn here, turn there can help the team wins. No, he is totally wrong. Maybe, he should try his luck at the circus. If he can turn here and turn there, yet deliver consistently like c. ronaldo, then I'm really impressed despite his lack of defensive quality. However, the truth is far from it...

  24. This is problem with rafa and any one says any thing bad about him they are not a true liverpool fan.

    I feel for babel I really do , I see him to be a deadly finisher and he does add things to the team he is a handful of the ball makes good runs opens space for other players , this is something alot of fans don't notice.

    All they see is when he gets the ball he makes mistakes sometimes and hammers him for it.The guy is young this is a step up for him it won't be easy.

    But it be almost impossible if he don't get support from him manager at least !He does need a run of games If he was at a club like arsenal I am sure he would be playing at a higher level right now.

    I also really think this Hurts our chances to attract any sort of real young tallent to our club as any good player who wants to play will look at babel as a case and think if he can't get a game who the hell am I going too.

    Rafa needs to downsize his squad to players he is just going to give a fair chance to and use them in a way where he can improve there value and skills and not waste peoples time and money.

  25. Your article has a lot of valid points and i agree, babel seems to have a lot of potential and regular games would bring that out of any player.

    but for you to question rafas man managment and tactics is extremely wrong and very narrow minded.

    agger, skrtl, alonso, masch, even torres and gerrard have become better players for working with rafa. Yes, back in the day it was very black and white, defenders defend, attackers attack and so on. but todays game is a detail mine field, everything is scrutinised.
    would you consider that just maybe ryan isnt that tactically aware and doesnt quite fit the team yet?
    after all, we have scored more goals, won the CL under rafa and out played 99% of opposition in the last 2 yrs.
    rafa is trying to FINE TUNE, which involves suttle detail, we defend well, we attack well, all is pretty sweet. but we cant win every game, we are not machines.

    just a last thought....have you considered babels attitued around the club? i have heard he is a bit of a whinger.

  26. yes te great players did work hard and defend.  A common saying in the 80s was the Ian Rush was one of Liverpool's best defenders.  He used to hassle and harrass from the front and the whole team were expected to follow suit.  Torres does it now.  We have always ad hard working players and the ones who weren't particularly hard working failed to make it.  It really is the Liverpool Way