14 Nov 2009

DIRK KUYT and the 'Curse of the barren spell' (or why Liverpool can do better on the right)

Dirk Kuyt's supporters are always trying to convince everyone he deserves his place in the team because he's so 'hard-working', has 'endless stamina' and gives his all for the team. Well, that may be the case but as I will illustrate, Rafa Benitez's continued favouritism for the player has had - and is having - a negative impact on Liverpool FC's attacking effectiveness.

I have nothing against Dirk Kuyt - he has, at times, been a valuable player for Liverpool. However, I simply refuse to accept that of all the players in world football, he is the best the club can do on the right.

Here is why (and this is a point I've made regularly over the last 3 years): Every season, Kuyt has a tendency to go through one or more barren spells, where he contributes next to nothing to the team and becomes a passenger. And more often than not, Kuyt's barren spells coincide with Liverpool going on a bad/indifferent run of form.

Here are some examples:



Run of Games




Feb to May





Oct to Feb





Mar to May





Aug to Sep





Nov to Mar





Sep to Nov




As you can see, every season since Kuyt arrived there have been long periods where he has contributed very little as an attacking force.

Take last season for example - even though he ended up with a decent goals/assists ratio, there was still a 4 month period where he started 21 games and only came up with 2 goals and 1 assist. Incidentally, that 4 month period was Liverpool's most ineffective of the season.

And how about this season? In his last 11 games, Kuyt has managed 1 measly assist and that's it. Is that good enough? Should we just accept that kind of return because he works hard? It's all well and good having a right midfielder who runs 30 miles every game, but where is the *consistent* end product?

For me, this is the key issue. Just imagine if we'd had a right-winger over the last few years who scored/created goals consistently, and did not regularly go through mammoth barren spells? A few extra goals/assists here and there would have been very valuable, would they not?

For the last 11 games, the plain fact is Kuyt has not been doing his job as an attacking player. A few more goals/assists here and there from one of Liverpool's most senior players may have turned draws into wins and defeats into draws.

Is this the best Liverpool can do on the right? Can we afford to persist with a player who regularly becomes a passenger for long stretches every season? What is a right midfielder's primary purpose? Surely it is to attack and score/create goals..or am I wrong about that?

Tracking back and defending is all well and good, but Kuyt is (or is suppose to be) an attacking player. That means a more consistent level of goals and assists is required. And it's not as if Kuyt doesn't get the chance to contribute - he starts almost every game (!) and has plenty of time to play himself into form.

Yes, every player goes through rough patches, but just look again at the table above: that is a concerning number of rough patches! And that table does not include Kuyt's many 5-8 game barren spells throughout the last 4 years.

Kuyt still has a part to play at Liverpool but proceeding with him as first choice right-midfielder is a mistake in my opinion.

A change is required. Yesterday, I suggested that Glen Johnson should be converted into a right winger, with Kuyt sharing the position and becoming more of a squad player. I stand by that.

Liverpool need:

1. A consistently effective right-midfielder
2. Who contributes goals and assists regularly throughout the season, and:
3. Does not routinely have barren spells with very little end product.

Dirk Kuyt is not the answer.


  1. Urm.... surely during a barren spell we don't score many goals. Thus no one gets many assists or goals? Perhaps this should have been done as a % or at least had a comparison against another LFC player?

    I have always refused to believe we are a one man team when we win. If we have a barren spell it is not because of one player. Who would you have on the right at the moment and who would you sign in January to replace him, for say up to £10m?

  2. i agree with you totally on that one mate and to think the amount of times i've been slated by my mates for being anti-Dirk. i think we can do a hell of a lot better than him and as silly/scary as this will sound i'd still rather give Babel more games down that right hand side because thats where he seems more comfortable and effective or why not try David Amoo now and again because i really believe we have a SUPERSTAR in the making with him or your idea of having Johnson play up there, in any case i still believe these 3 i've mentioned here can and will do a much better job than Dirk.

  3. Kuyt is solid, when the balls goes out to the wing he retains possession and does something useful with the ball.  For too often we've had winger the likes of Pennant, Babel etc who are players who lose posession far too frequently.

    I think you under estimate the part Kuyt plays in the team.  He's a "miss him when he's gone" player.

  4. I'm not talking about team barren spell - I'm talking about an individual barren spell.  It's not always the case that Liverpool do badly when Kuyt is off-form.  In the periods I outlined, Gerrard, Torres and other senior players were still regularly contributing.

    I son't see how the table in the post can be dismissed. It shows 93 games over the last 4 years in which Kuyt has scraped together 10 goals and 8 assists.

    We need more from a right-midfielder than that.

    And I wouldn't spend any money on a right-midfielder - I'd just move Glen Johnson to the right and play him as a right winger, and have Kuyt as backup for Torres and/or Johnson on the right.

    Kuyt should no longer be an automatic starter IMO.  As a senior player who gets more pitch time than anyone, his barren spells are costing Liverpool dear.

  5. It's really irritating when people accuse you of being 'anit-Kuyt- for pointing out his shortcomings.  Even when you provide specific evidence as i have above) some people still won't have it.

    I have nothing against the player - it's nothing personal, it's purely about the team.  The question is can Liverpool do better on the right?  Is it possible for someone else to play there and be more consistently creative?  The answer has to be yes.

  6. I can see the Johnson argument but I honestly believe Kuyt is a solid performer who because he isn't scintillating gets derided at every opportunity. For that reason I currently think the right wing is best served with Kuyt and Johnson.

    As for any thought of playing Babel there (below comment), that thought scares me witless. Especially at the moment! 

  7. No one disputes that Kuyt is solid!  I want goals and assists though on a more regukar basis, not 'solid' play.

    And you say we'd miss him if he was gone.  How would we have missed him over the last 11 games, where's he contributed only 1 assist?!

    Or how about last season's barren run of 2 goals and 1 assist on 20+ games?

    Surely if we had a right-midfielder who scored/assisted more in the times Kuyt has failed to regularly contribute then that would've had a positive impact on the team?

  8. No one disputes that Kuyt is solid!  I want goals and assists though on a more regukar basis, not 'solid' play.

    And you say we'd miss him if he was gone.  How would we have missed him over the last 11 games, where's he contributed only 1 assist?!

    Or how about last season's barren run of 2 goals and 1 assist on 20+ games?

    Surely if we had a right-midfielder who scored/assisted more in the times Kuyt has failed to regularly contribute then that would've had a positive impact on the team?

  9. If you move Johnson who goes in at right back at the moment?

  10. so why do people jump dowm Lucas' throat when the team have a bad game and why should that attitude be aimed at just a select number of our players and not some e.g. Kuyt. The reason why people where talking excitedly about Yossi's and only Yossi's contributions in the absence of Gerrard & Torres wasn't because they couldn't pronounce Kuyt's name but the simple fact that as an attacking force Kuyt is quite useless and very forgettable hence he's now playing as a winger when we bought a supposedly prolific goal scorer and notice another thing, when people talk about his contribution in the team its never about how he unlocked defences with a superb pass or some sublime skill he pulled off but they talk only of his hard work in defensive areas, remember the 20/20 striker we bought anyone?

  11. gashortash- can you tell2:58 pm, November 13, 2009

    I bet you were shafting him as much as any other Liverpool fan when he scored important goals in Europe such as against Inter, Chelsea ,Chelsea penalty shoot out the year before, Debrecin, Liege...

    Get a proper hobby and stop being a fickle tosser.

  12. If you want to go look at my comments on this site in relation to Lucas you will find I am not one who has jumped down Lucas' throat. Indeed I have defended him this season as much as Kuyt.

    Yesterday I posted Kuyt's goals to game ratio for last season which was the same as Giggs in his best ever season for MU, better than Malouda, Nani, Iniesta and Silva. He keeps possession, is consistent, distributes the ball and is a goal threat, but that's not enough for some!

    What combination would you have on the right at this moment in time?

  13. It's nothing to with him being scintillating - it's just about consistent creative impact.  He is supposed to be an attacking player, but every season he goes through spells where he contributes next to nothing.  This has got to be a concern, surely?  Do we just overlook this pattern because he's 'solid', or do we strive for improvement?

    This season is a prime example: last 11 games - 1 assist.  For me, this is an unacceptale return for an attacking player.  It would be different if his barren spells were sporadic, but they're not - they are a regular feature of every season.

    At some point people have to sop making excuses like 'but he works hard', and consider Kuyt'[s impact in context.  All those spells over the last 4 years where he's struggled have cost Liverpool valuable points.  And again, this season, Kuyt's inability to step up has cost Liverpool valuable points.

    If everyone is fit, I would have Martin Kelly at right back. He has show promise in the reserves and when he's played in the first team.  The only way Kelly  to improve/show his worth is by making the step-up to the first team.  I see no reason why he can't be trusted.  He is tall, good going forward, pacy, and good defensively.  Just give him the job and let him grow with it this season.

    This kills 2 birds with one stone: No cash outlay for a new right-mid OR a new right back.

  14. i would have, if fit, Martin Kelly at RB and Johnson at RW with Degen (who i think should be shipped out) being Kelly's understudy

  15. <span>gashortash- can you tell</span>..... Couldnt agree more m8

  16. You state in your article:
    <span>"Every season, Kuyt has a tendency to go through one or more barren spells, where he contributes next to nothing to the team and becomes a passenger. And more often than not, Kuyt's barren spells coincide with Liverpool going on a bad/indifferent run of form."</span>
    If that is the case then doesn't your comment suggest that Kuyt is pivotal to Liverpool doing well? Your article seems to be a bit mixed up....as I thought it was trying to put forward a case for not having him in the team...using your argument, if Liverpool are struggling when Torres doens't score then we shold get rid of him too!!!

    Also, if Kuyt is selected to play in midfield then he is expected to defend as well attack...so you are not being fair and even handed to just dismiss this signiificant part of his role.

  17. Come on Jaimie, be fair. If Rafa goes for that combination I can almost see your posts now if we lose! This is not the time to be 'trying things out' and as you say 'if everyone is fit'.

    If we lost Kuyt through injury, and everyone is fit, I would move Carragher to right back and push Johnson up. Not try and break in a young player. You do lose something from the centre of defence then, so while Kuyt is fit we are playing the right team IMO. Babel should be tried there from time to time from the bench.

  18. Gee, don't misrepresent my argument or anything.

    Nice try at fudging the issues, but the Torres comparison is completely irrelevent UNLESS Torres has had regular barren spells, which he hasn't.

    And yes, if Torres regulalry wnet 10-20 games every season without contributing much then questions would have to be asked.

    A better comparison with Kuyt would be Emile Heskey, another player who also would regularly go 15-20 games without scoring/creating anything.

  19. Thanks for your comments again :) - If Rafa went for that change I would be applauding him, not criticising.  And if we lost with that, I would say nothing because it's a change I support.  Kelly is the future - or should be the future - there is no better time to bed him in.  Who care if we're on a bad spell; there's still football that needs to be played.

    No one has come up with one valid argument AGAINST Kelly being played at right back.  So he's young?  Big deal.  That's not a valid argument against his inclusion. 

    The question people should ask is what evidence is there that Kelly IS NOT equipped to make the step-up. There isn't any in my view.

    Carragher is too slow to play right back - he'd just suffer like insua does on the left with his lack of speed.

    It's time to be progressive in my view, not backwards and ultra cautious.

  20. Actually, I have made the same point every season for the last three years.  And every time I do, it's always the same response: But he's solid...works hard...blah blah blah. 

    I am always consistent with my views, and many of them have been built up over many years.

    And as I stated in my article, Kuyt has been a valuable player for Liverpool *at times*.  His barren spells are costing Liverpool points.

    And drop the personal insults.  Once more and I will just ban you from the site.

  21. i agree with you kuyt simply not good enough .we need a top class right winger,not running around like a headles chiken.We need goals . if we have no money move johnson on wing martin kelly right back .Use kuyt as squad player or sell for 14m.

  22. Jamie your article may be factual however football requires a degree of common sense and kuyt is very important to Liverpool in attacking patterm and formation. Having Kuyt on the right also allows Johnson to be more effective because he offers so much defensively. If we had a more attacking right winger then it would possibly nulify the threat of Johnson! AS I ALWAYS MAINTAIN RAFA KNOWS MORE ABOUT WHATS RIGHT FOR LIVERPOOL THAN JAMIE KANWAR!!! You have a lot more spare time than is healthy mate. Do you actually have a life?

  23. I'm not misrepresenting you I'm saying that your argument could be interpretted as contradictory.

    You aren't serioulsy suggesting that Heskey did the same midfield role as Kuyt are you...or am I misrepresenting you this time too!?

    Coincidently, have you any stats on how Liverpool have performed without Kuyt?

  24. He didnt misrepresent your argument at all haha your dillusional he just proved you wrong hahaha

  25. My argument is not contradictory at all, and the fact you would think that I was using Heskey as a direct comparison to Juyt says it all.

    The crux of thre issue is attacking players and their contribution.

    Kuyt and Heskey are both attacking players whose main job is to score and create goals.  Thus, it is fair to compare them in the way I have.

    Both had a habit of going for long periods without contributing miuch.  Both would be defended by apologists using excuses like 'he does so much for the team...chases lost causes...defends so well; both were favourites of their respective managers, and both cost Liverpool a hell of a lot of points through not scoring /creating enough.

    And no I do not have stas for when Kuyt is not in the team because Kuyt is ALWAYS in the team!  Consequently, no such stats exist!

  26. Hi Jamie,

    Last season we scored the most goals in the premiership so how can you state that he has "<span>a negative impact on Liverpool FC's attacking effectiveness"?  I agree that it would be nice to have some other options on the Right as Kuyt does have the tendancy to drift into the centre as do Babel and Benayoun.  Liverpool still lack width and playing Johnson or someone else more suited to running the line would definately add a string to our bow when we are having to break a team down.</span>

    Kuyts value is from the way he just doesn't stop.  He creates attacking opportunities by defending from the very front and has often broken down attacks early allowing us to break and score.  In my opinion your views and "facts" that Kuyt is a negative impact on our attacking effectiveness is like stating that Mascherano has no impact because he has never scored for Liverpool.  Some players like Kuyt and Mascherano benefit the teams attacking effectiveness by breaking up play, defending from the front, pushing the oppostion into making mistakes or by simply pulling players out of position.

    I think the fact that he is in the top 10 striker category on the Actim Index says it all.  Kuyt a striker played out of position is at number 7.  More importantly he is ranked ninth overall which would rank him 2nd in the top 10 Midfielders.  For comparison #1 Overall & Midfielder is Fabregas with an Actim Index of 304, #2 Midfielder is Ashley Young with an Actim Index of 196.  Kuyts Actim Index is 214.

    The Actim Index shows that Kuyt is an effective player and even when Liverpool are on one of their worst streaks in years Kuyt still manages to get into the top 10 players on the Actim Index so the fact that he goes thru spells where he doesn't get a goal or an assist only shows one very small aspect of the impact this player has for Liverpool.  This info can be found by following the link below:


  27. Dirk Kuyt reminds me of what it would be like if one of us fans was thrown onto the field to play on the right. Chasing the ball down, tackling the opposition, passing the ball sideways and backwards just to keep posession but ultimately lacking that killer pass and turn of pace that seperates a "hard working player" from a creative influential player.

    He probably has a better touch than most of us too :)  But you get what i'm saying right???

  28. A better comparison with Kuyt would be Emile Heskey, another player who also would regularly go 15-20 games without scoring/creating anything.

    ...your words not mine
    Kuyt has been played as a midfielder (to do a job attacking AND defending) so your comparison is not valid. If you wish to base an argument on someones 'main job' being to create and score goals then with only a few exceptions you could level that at any player not in the defence surley?

  29. Finally, someone else has noticed the lack of Quality from the man they call Kuyt. For over 2 years now I have moaned and whinged about his performances only to be told that I'm not a proper Liverpool fan. If I was a real LFC fan, I would have noticed his hard work, his constant pressing and his never say die attitude - what a load of bull! I'd run around like a headless chicken if I played for Liverpool. Kuyt is famous for receiving the ball, cutting back and playing it back to defence. He is woeful and to think that he is one of the first names on our teamsheet indictaes just how poor our team is. Our fans are too willing to accept players like Kuyt because of secondary skills like pressing etc. We need class - not Kuyt!

  30. i definitley agree with this posting... i think this, season more than most , dirk has been a big factor in our bad run of results , he doesnt hold on to possesion as a result of his worsening first touch (this was so appren in the lyon AWAy game) and although he does put in a good shift i dont really think anyone in the team can be accused of lacking in work rate.... and as for the argument that he offers good protection for the right back - this season that is not the case as most of the goals conceded stem from our right side..... I think dirk should remain a liverpool player but just needs a rest as he does look a bit tires these days.... i would sugest playing lucas wide right...as i think he'd offer more in terms of delivery and would put in the same if not more in terms of work-rate(he played this position at st. james's last seaon and did extremely well)...

  31. kelly might or might not be ready to make the step up. the fact is, he's never played one full game for liverpool, so how are you convinced that he is the answer at full back? looking good for the reserves is not an answer....there's lots of players who look very good in the reserves right now, and i doubt many of those would be able to make the step up.
    you're right - being young isn't a reason why he shouldn't be included, but he's an unknown quantity to you and me.....but not benitez.

    and as for there being no better time to bed him in, i disagree. when you're on such an awful spell, you need experience. when a team is playing well and fluid is the best time to bring in new blood. remember how good spearing looked against madrid and how out of his depth he looked against sunderland?

  32. I am not saying there are no better options to Kuyt outt here and certainly we should have a little more competeition for him because he does seem almost undroppable which is not right.  But i think his role in the team is justified.  Unfortunately for Kuyt, his bets attributes are not recorded in stats and i take ur stats serioulsy jamie but they can be easily used to show him to have little value tot he team, when in fact even in those barren games he was probably very important to us.

    For example, his role this reason playing with johnson will be to help cover when Johnson makes a forray forward.  If we had, Qauresma for arguments sake (a player who has quality, skill, goals - someone who fans may rather see) down that flank with Johnson then the balance has completely gone.  i like to think that Johnson has been such a success thatks in hand to Kuyt's selfless contribution off the ball etc, something stats will never show.

    P.S Has anyone else noticed that while Kuyt is not necessarily tecchincally amazing, he is a world class throw-in receiver!  Watch how many times and how easily he receives throw-ins int he final 3rd.  he must practice that and running at training all week long!

  33. <span>
    <p>As pointed out by Dave above:
    </p><p>What is the purpose of the Actim Index? 

    It identifies the players who make key contributions to each match 
    It allows players to be ranked against each other at random or using such criteria as playing position, nationality, age, or geographical location of their team
    It highlights the key players in a league or team 
    It shows the form of a player & team 
    Individual player/team performances can be scientifically analysed over a season or any period of time within a season
    It provides fans with the knowledge of who is the best
    Dirk Kuyt is currently #7 in the strikers and #9 out of all positions, but he should be dropped?</p></span>

  34. <p><span>There are a few players that are playing below par this season. Kuyt is one of those players but my main concern is without a doubt is the defense. All or defensive players apart from renia pretty much have individual weak aspects to their game play and collectively they are shambles from set pieces. Like I said before Kuyt is not playing well at the moment but I still think he is 1<sup>st</sup> choice especially with our ever growing injury list. I like his mentality to adversity. A couple of years ago he couldn’t hit a barn door when playing up front but since he got moved to the right in Rafa's Valencia formation along with birth of the Gerard/Torres partnership and the steady Rieia on the left up to this season Liverpool have look very solid. The simple reason why Liverpool is going backwards is because the board has not given Rafa the funds to improve the squad in the summer and therefore the squad is now much weaker experience wise. It’s just like 2003 all over again….falling to kick on from finishing 2<sup>nd</sup> (That time Houllier was to blame with his decision to buy Diouf Diao and Bruno Cheyrou instead of players like Anelka) </span></p>

  35. The answer whilst Torres is out =

            Ngog Babbel

     Aurelio  Aquilani  Gerrard


    Insua   Agger Carra  Glen J


  36. Point of the matter is Kyut is valuable bcuz of the way the manager wants the team to play. The space that Johnson is exploiting to great effect is being created by Kyut's movement. Now don't get me wrong, he ain't super skillfull, nor quick, near horrible first touch etc etc etc. But he does score crucial goals, has good movement and is not injury prone. Alot of ppl are underestimating "work hard for the team". Ask Fergie about the value of Fletcher. Don't u think if Mikel was fit Ancelotti would be putting him in there with Essien.

    The "work hard" players are loved by managers bcuz they create the platform for others to excel. With the team setup to encourage the full backs to get forward u need players like Kyut on the wings otherwise that space behind Johnson would be exploited to great effect. Then what? Ask Johnson to stay back a little and negate what he was brought to do?

    Of course there are better RW out there and Kyut does bring headaches sometimes to us fans but what he contributes to the TEAM is very valuable. The sad thing is us fans only realize how valuable those contributions are when the player is not there anymore

  37. <span>"1. A consistently effective right-midfielder
    2. Who contributes goals and assists regularly throughout the season, and:
    3. Does not routinely have barren spells with very little end product."</span>

    4. Who tracks back and helps right defender.
    5. Who is tactically aware and does what he is asked for.
    6. Who is minimu 6ft tall. Our squad is not tallest already.
    7. Who would cost no more than 10-12 mil.

    Hm... Have you got a name?

  38. Yankee Doodle Dandy10:06 pm, November 13, 2009

    I've always wanted Kuyt to play more of a forward roll in the center so I would love him off of the right but not out of the team.

    I agree with you that Liverpool needs another permanent right midfielder and Kuyt's immense qualities could be utilized in a different manner. But he's always there when you need him, like you state. And I think he's turning into a wonderful, confident leader. He's even captained the team and it looks like the other players really admire the man.

    At any rate, Kuyt is fun to watch and don't tell me you didn't sceam your b*lls off at his contribution to the final goal scored against United! :)

  39. This is because bufoons like Jaimie can't see, how the runs that Kuyt makes, creates space for others. I for one, can see that, Kuyt is one of the better off-the ball players.

  40. Oh yeah, don't tell Jaimie that. When he quotes statistics, it's evidence. When others quote statistics, its pure data manipulation! Hypocrite!

  41. I totally agree with Jaimie. Kuyt is not even an ordinary player, he's below that. He offers nothing for the team. He 'might' be good at defending when opposition have the ball, but thats about it. Put him on in the 85th minute or something. If you analyse every game he played, he broke up our play a lot. If you see fulhams second goal against us, you can see it was because of Kuyt's stupidity. We need someone like Babel or Benayoun on the right. Benayoun can give that crucial pass on the final third and offers creativity. Same with Babel, but babel has more power and pace.

    To be honest, people criticise babel, how does a player prove his worth when he is brought into the game in the last 5/10 minutes??
    He needs FULL games under his belt, then he can prove how good he is. Kuyt is the cause of our awful run, not injuries.

  42. Its not a question about Kuyts stats compared to others, its about the goals he scores and assist he makes NOW. I admit we dont have world class players all over the pitch, but we need the right deliveries especially from the flanks. Playing benayoun on the left is a waste, but playing Kuyt on the right is a complete joke. Kuyt has never offered a good cross or assist. In regards to "working his a** off" for the team, there is only defending that comes into mind. We dont need a defender to play on the RIGHT WING do we???! I dont mind Kuyt playing as a 2nd striker, but we need someone with pace and trickery on the right flank. I dont understand why Benitez has so much faith in him, he might as well go suck his ****.

  43. I agree with Bheko. We can do alot better on the right, and we have many better options. You mentioned David Amoo, I seen him play, he's quality. We need to give babel more games cos he only plays for like 5-10 minutes (just enought time for a COUGH). Or yeah, play Johnson on the right, and get Steven Darby or Martin Kelly at right back (BTW, Martin Kelly done more on his debut than Kuyt ever did this whole season). What liverpool lack is "making chances". The chances should mostly come from the midfielders. From the left we aren't getting any because Riera is injured. Mascherano can't really assist cos hes defending, Lucas is more of a DM like Masch and he cant create chances, and last but not least.... DIRK KUYT (im not even going to bother with him). I really do feel sorry for torres that the midfield are doing sh*t all in giving him chances to score. Time for Aquilani to rise.

  44. 1 player is the cause of our awful run? get a grip.

    as for babel, he was moaning in the pre season then got a start against spurs in the first game.....and was abysmal.

  45. alright hold on, so your saying a player deserves ONE full game to prove his worth? Thats silly, and its unfair to do that if that was the case, because if you look at CROUCH for instance, it took him how many games for him to score a goal when he came to liverpool???
    If you compare Babel to Kuyt, anyone (except most of the liverpool fans) would pick Babel over kuyt on that right flank anyday. Babel offers more, kuyt just works hard for nothing.

  46. by the way, this might be abit off the topic but, can anyone please explain to me why benitez loves playing VORONIN as second striker, when he got the likes of Kuyt, Benayoun or Babel to do that?
    and if anyone out there likes Voronin, do let me know.

  47. So we should just use the Actim index as the arbiter of who is and is not performing and forget more pertinent facts like how many goals/assists Kuyt has achieved in the last 11 games?

    Who cares what Actim Index says.  Pele once said that Diouf was one of the world's best players; should we just take his word for it and ignore the reality?  The fact is, Kuyt has managed 1 assist in 11 games.  He has regular barren spells every season. 

    I never said he should be dropped - I suggested that he should share the right-mid position with Johnson and/or provide cover for Torres, which pretty much guarantees he would get quite a few games.

    For how many more barren spells will Liverpool have to carry Kuyt?

    As others have said, Kuyt is too defensive-minded.  We have 4 defenders and two holding mids (!) - we can offrd to just have an attack-minded right-mid whose sole job is to do as much damage as possible raiding down the right.

    That was job description of wingers like Steve McManaman and John Barnes.  They did their share of defensive work but 80% of their time was spent attacking. That's what we need on the right, not a midfielder who spends most of time tacking, chasing down lost causes and passing the ball sideways.

    What Glen Johnson did against Birmingham on Monday is what Liverpool need in every game (IMO)

  48. Kuyts control and distribution is woefull,when he does pass to someone its the safe ball inside or back 5 yards,he cant go past anyone,im sick of seeing him balloon his crosses to the opposite touchline!kelly was superb against lyon when the team played poorly!and he's been the same for the reserves!
    i agree that johnson should be given a go on the right wing,then again i never wanted us to spend 17mill on a right back,i wanted it spent on a striker!
    yeah kuyt works hard...............but so does robbie savage! paul huyton

  49. Why is this so difficult to understand? Kuyt is probably Liverpool's most adaptable players. He is also well accepted as being the hardest working. What he does on the pitch is exactly what his manager asks of him so if you find him consistently in a position where he's not capable of attacking then it's because that's where Rafa needs him. It's not difficult to see that Kuyt has barren spells when Liverpool play poorly. That's because when Liverpool are not performing their most adaptable player is the one who changes his game to fill in the gaps. If the team is giving away too much ball or not staying compact in defence you'll always find Kuyt is the first player to try and change this. This is why Rafa starts him every single game. It's also why his game often ends up looking so ugly. He sacrifices his attacking position to basically provide cover for everyone else. You might not like that and it might not show on the stats you look up on soccernet.com but he is, without a doubt, doing what his managers wants him to. 
    What I find so pointless is that people feel the need to publish their opinion of a player in a public forum and yet they don't even make the slightest effort to try and understand other points of view. It's quite obvious that many people don't see Kuyt's good qualities, JK being the prime offender. But rather than making any kind of attempt to gather information and educate themselves they focus entirely on vague stats that "back up" their personal view. Then they scoff at those of us who suggest that the highly paid, immensely experienced and successful manager in charge of one of world's greatest clubs might actually know a bit more about the game and know what they are doing. 

  50. Good article, Jamie.  But forget it. These blind Rafa zealots will agree EVERYTHING Rafa says and disagree everyone who says Rafa is wrong in something. It's like an idol pop-star, you know. Even if Rafa sells Gerrard for a hotdog, they will still say Rafa knows something in the hotdog which others don't. I think it will not be until the end of the season when they see LFC got kicked out of the top 4 will they realize their "God" is afterall, not flawless.

  51. The only thing that is diffuclt to understand here is your inability to see the point.  Whether Kuyt does what Rafa tells him is irrelevent.  Whether he is forced to sacrifice his attacking position is also irrelevent.  The bottom line is he has managed 1 assist in the last 11 games and that is not good enough!

    You make out that only people like you can really 'understand' Rafa's alleged masterplan re Kuyt, but that is not the case.  I (and I'm sure many others) just don't care about this plan - we care about having an attacking player on the who actually functions as an attacking player!

    Your argument seems to be 'Kuyt is doing what his manager tells him to do so that makes it okay'. So, using your thinking, Benitez is culpable here, right?  With that in mind, why does it not bother you that he persists with Kuyt at the expense of the team? Why does it not bother you that despite MANY barren spells, Kuyt is STILL an automatic pick?

    This is not rocket science - a right midfielder's principal role is supposed to be an attacking one; he is supposed to create and score goals.  Benitez has subverted this and made the position into something predominantly defensive.

    Your blind faith in Benitez seems to  be the reason you cannot accept that he might  not be doing the right thing for the team here.  Would any other half-decent manager persist with Kuyt on the right all this time?  I would argue no.

    What is it with Liverpool fans and blindly accepting mediocrity these days?

  52. if all the players had a heart as big as kuyts and if all the players gave 110% as kuyt does every game we would be now sitting at the top of the league unfortunetly these are his only asetts    he has no first touch no speed and for a 10 million centre forward his goal return is dreadful
    benitez had the same infactuation with zenden who he played in the athens final as a third fullback  benitez went into that game with another of his masterplans  that was to get a goal from a set piece or take the game to penaltys 
                              as for kuyt he run and runs and gives his all for the cause a bit like paula radcliffe but i cant see her on the right or scoring goals for the reds either

  53. Please...for the love of God, get rid of the one they call Kuyt and chuck Babel out too. Liverpool have arguably signed the only two dutch players in history who can't control a ball - hell, Rafa even signed Zenden who probably had an impact on the final result of the 2007 Euro Cup final.

    It's simple - To be at Liverpool you need to be class and Kuyt couldn't be further.

  54. Anyone who tries to defend Kuyt is essentially blind. The man is utterly dreadful. He cannot pass long OR short, always drifts infield, cannot beat a man on the outside, has no pace, constantly gives the ball away, makes bad runs when off the ball which cuts of space for others and provides almost nothing from the flank.

    His ONLY saving grace is that he can defend okay, but from a guy that is meant to be an attacking player, I don't really consider this a massive plus. The guy is just dreadful, and is not worthy of being in the starting 11. Honestly I'd rather have Voronin on the wing, at least he has an eye for a pass and can sometimes pull them off.

  55. Jaimie Kuyt works very hard for us, he's going through a bad spell at the moment but last season he was the most effective out and out right winger in the EPL and that's a fact, finishing 2nd behind Ronaldo who's more of an attacker than winger.

    If you check his ACTIM stats he's regularly in the top 10-15 players over the course of an entire season across the EPL.

    it really annoys me how we jump on the back of any player when they hit a bad spell, we don't have the money to go out and buy a £30m player for every position so what are you expecting exactly?

    I'd urge ANY of Kuyt's critics to try and find a better RW than him for £10m, he's a full Dutch International for gods sake!

    ALL teams have a player who works their socks off for the team without being fantastic in any definitive area, just look at Fletcher at Utd for proof of that.

  56. In regards to Samsamire's lame comment

    1) A right midfielder who is just good at DEFENDING
    2) Gives the ball away too much
    3) Never has an eye for goal
    4) Cant shoot
    5) Never gives a decent pass
    6) Always breaks up play
    7) Makes bad runs
    8) A right midfielder that lacks pace

    have YOU got a name???????!!!!!!!!!

  57. If anyone saw the carling cup match against arsenal, kuyt was in the squad along with the other crop of youngsters. Kuyt is the senior player that these guys were lukin up to that match, but he played the WORST. broke up attacks, never gave a decent ball, nothing. OH wait a minute, my bad, he DEFENDED well didnt he. IF we reli needed a defender there that bad i would put carragher there. what a waste, this guy lacks individual skill, pace, imagination. If you look at all the big teams and their right midfielder, compare it to kuyt and you will have laugh. F the stats. kuyt can have the best stats for the last 3 seasons, but did we win anything, NO! I understan that liverpool fans are backing rafa, but you got to question as to why you would put a striker on the right wing.

  58. Hi Jamie,

    You have dismissed the Actim Index as unimportant and not real evidence of Kuyts worth to the team etc in favour of your statistics which you have quoted above so I thought I would refer back to those.  How can you make such bold statements about Kuyt based on statistics which you have chosen specifically to meet your argument?  You expect everyone else to give near perfect evidence of their arguments yet yours is ridiculous.  How can you make any claims about Kuyts performance and effect on the team if you fail to give any comparable data such as team mates.  In my last comment I showed using the Actim index that Kuyt is currently one of the most highly ranked players in the country yet according to you this proves nothing as it does not relate to his positive or negative affect on the team (which is a load of rubbish as if he was having a negative impact his score on this index would suffer) but I digress.  I was referring to your evidence...

    Please take a look at this page which shows the Top 20 Assists table for the season so far:


    It is promising to see that Liverpool make up a quarter of this list but what truly AMAZED me was that Dirk Kuyt is in there....AND SHOCK HORROR he has 3 Assists this season, as have Johnson, Insua & Benayoun.

    This page then shows Liverpools top scorers so far:


    SHOCK!!  Kuyt is there too.... and he has scored the same number of goals as Benayoun and two more than Johnson.

    And then finally is the list of appearances this season.


    Kuyt has played 12 games, Benayoun has started 9 and come on in a further 3, Johnson has started 11 and Insua has started 11 and come on for another 1 so there is not much in it between them as far as appearances go BUT according to Jamie Kuyt is a terrible player who gives nothing to the attacking force of the team!!

    Last season (08/09) Kuyt finished the season with 12 premiership goals and 9 assists.  That is the same number of goals that Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney achieved and on the assists it is 1 less than Lampard BUT 2 MORE than Rooney.  In fact if the stats on this site are to be believed (http://www.liverweb.org.uk/assists.asp?season=200809) Kuyt was our third best player for assists last season coming in 2 behind Stevie G and 1 behind ALONSO!  So Jamie maybe you should look a bit deeper into your stats before making such arguments!

    Kuyt is a workhorse and the stats show that last season he was one of our most productive players.  The stats so far this season have a lot of players in the 20-40 section on goals and assists but it is not ONLY Kuyt down there but the majority of our attacking players.  So ini relation to the rest of the team Kuyt is just as effective as the other attacking players (Benayoun, Johnson, Insua, Ngog).


  59. My comment is lame. Ok, Lets take a closer look at yours.

    4) Cant shoot 
    5) Never gives a decent pass 

    Premier League, last season:
    goals: 12assists: 9
    He was  joint 6-11 scorer (alongside certain Rooney) in the league
    He was joint 6-10 assistant in the league

    Now, whos comments are lame?

  60. HAHA your a joker. You can bring his stats onto this, but it does not relate to the point we are trying to make. Hey might have had a good amount of assists and goals in the past season(s) but the argument here is that he is never consistent in attacking, which is a right midfielders role, not defending. He also breaks up play and cannot make a good run to save his life. You show stats of the past few seaons, it all counts for NOTHING because we won NOTHING in the past 3 seasons. Like I said ealier, Fulhams second goal against us is what defines kuyt - sloppy - he gave the ball away, fulham attacked and scored. Dont know why benitez relies on him so much. Babel deserves that right spot. That wonder strike V Lyon is something Kuyt has never done since joining liverpool, Babel is class, kuyt is below par- a FACT. Stats mean nothing unless you're winning silverware - FACT Samsamire

  61. According to your statement he cant score - as the matter of facts he was sixth best goalscorer in the league last season
    You stated he cant pass - as the matter of facts he was sixth best assistant in the league last season.

    All this as a right midfielder.

    You have two options: change your unfair opinion or live in denial. Choice is yours.

    Babel on right side is an interesting option but as long as we play Johnson on RB it would be very, very dangerous because Babel doesnt track back. When Johnson joins attack - and he does it very frequently - we need someone who does track back and helps a defensive midfielder to cover right flank - otherwise we are very vulnerable to counter-attack.

  62. I understand where you're coming from at a defensive point of view, but the problem isn't the tracking back, it's about being attack minded and creating chances. Just for now, forget about him scoring. We need to talk about midfielders creating chances for the striker(s). Apart from Gerrard, there is no other midfielder who delivers a good pass other than Gerrard. Riera is out, so Benitez puts benayoun on the left (out of position), which makes him ineffective. Masch usually passes to the right or left flank rather than thread balls down the middle. Lucas does the same (theyr both DMs, what would you expect), and then u got Kuyt on the right. What they all have in common is that they are defensive players. Liverpool hardly create decent chances for torres, but when he does get that eventual chance to score, 90% of the time he does, which just shows how good Torres is. One other thing I realised, when our midfielders get the ball, instead of turning around and run/pass, they friggin pass back to the defenders, and then they play along the back four, whats that all about?! no other team does it unless they really really have to. When Gerrard n Torres are out, we lack imagination, its really a concern, but oh well, I'm sure benitez knows what hes doing *COUGHS*

  63. "but the problem isn't the tracking back"

    Yes, it is a problem when you play a wing back. If you play a normal RB tracking back is less concern for a RAM (but it's still a nice bonus). We play Johnson so it is a major problem.

    "Just for now, forget about him scoring. We need to talk about midfielders creating chances for the striker(s)."

    I have no problem with Kuyt creating chances. He was sixth best assistant in the league. Saying he cant create chances is over the top. If he can get the same number of assist this year I'll be pleased. If he can improve I'll be delighted.

    I'm not saying he is the best winger we can have. He's not. He is a very decent 10-12 mil player. He does good job, and RAM position is not our main problem.

    We should take a closer look to LAM and CB positions cos there is the reason we lost so many games. Not Kuyt.

  64. Oh dear Jaimie, how many times are you going to ignore facts when it doesn't fit your argument. Its becoming very tedious. "Who cares what the Actim Index says". Absolutely unbelievable. Now I'm not saying that this is definitive, but any person who was reasonable would look at all the facts and not just dismiss them as you so often do.  

    The index looks at a players complete performance: each player’s contribution to matches is examined including goals, shots, passes, dribbles, tackles, crosses, saves, clearances, blocks, interceptions, time on the pitch and number of points gained by their team.

    As it stands he is 9th in the Actim Index. This is not the overall authority on the matter but it is the official player rating system of the Premier League. He is ahead of other out and out wingers such as Ashley Young and Shaun Wright Phillips. In fact the only other midfielder in the top 10 is Fabregas.

    Every player goes through barren spells at one point or other in the season. Only world class players such as Torres and Ronaldo can pull it out of the bag week in week out, which is why they are world class players.

    Yes there are probably better options in the world on the right wing, but Kuyt is the best option that we have in teh squad at the moment.

    You say that he has only had one assist in 11 games; its actually 2 in 12 games and 3 goals. But what about his overall contribution? He may have only had two assists, but what part did he play in the built up to other goals. Your "pertinent" stat of 1 assist in 11 gives you no idea of what else he does in a game.

    I think Kuyt is a quality player. What he lacks in skill and pace he makes up for in tenacity, spirit, hard work and intelligence.

  65. ngog and his schlong9:45 am, November 20, 2009

    jaime kanwar you are tit. Kuyt has been one of our better players over the last years. He offers goals, assists, and a decent defensive workrate.

  66. right! i got a point to make
    im sure most of you seen the outstanding performance by
    tottenham, as they mauled wigan 9-1
    if you analyse who created the BULK of those chances, you
    can see that its AARON LENNON - a pure Right Mid
    it just underlines how important a proper right winger would be for us.
    YES kuyt creates A chance on his good day, but how long do we wait
    for a good day? against Man City he played sh*t !
    lets take aaron lennon as an example. he whips in crosses now and
    again, quality crosses. and if that doesnt work, he would try to take the defenders on, which is what RM's should do, unless your BECKHAM
    or GERRARD. kuyt cant do neither, he is sh*t. and as for "Ngog and his Schlong"s comment- mate, maybe if you saw the FOOTBALL we play, rather than their D*CKS, then you would see that Kuyt is sh*t.
    i hope kuyt gets shot! he should be a ball boy than play first team football.

  67. Degen is a solid overlapping fullback with good crosses , quick and can take on defenders...when fit

  68. Actually I dispute that Kuyt is solid. He does lose the ball more often because he has less options. He can only pass, therefore limiting the other options available like run with the ball, cross, shoot or hold.

  69. Kuyt was asked to do a job at RM even though he was bought as a prolific striker. What is the job of the RM?.. to play solid football and defend?

  70. Much of his high score on this index is due to his TIME ON THE PITCH.

  71. Hence the inclination to play Johnson at RM and Degen at fullback.

  72. Actim index gives more points to player who have more minutes on the pitch. Also it awards points for passes, which Kuyt does regularly, whenever he receives the ball, it is most likely he passes it back into midfield or defence. He seldom does ANYTHING else with the ball. So this index shows clearly that Kuyt has played many minutes and has helped the team by passing the ball backwards instead of going forward. That's why he is so high on the actim index, because he does not have the skills to risk any thing other than a pass and the very rare cross/assist/shot on goal.

  73.                 Reina
    Degen  Carra   Agger   Insua
    Glen   Stevie  Aquilani  Benny

  74. Eliminate option 7 and you have Glen Johnson

  75. Why do so many people seem to prefer Babel? The guy is absolutely useless. He just doesn't understand the game. To illustrate: the dutch, who like fast wingers such as Robben, prefer Kuyt in their national squad. Many of them would actually bring Lens(a winger playing for AZ with 0 caps) instead of Babel to the world cup.