10 Jan 2012

McLeish: £20m Liverpool flop is now 'at his peak'...

Ahead of a proposed loan move, former Liverpool player Robbie Keane has been training with Aston Villa over the last few days, and according to Villa boss Alex McLeish, the Republic of Ireland striker is in 'tip-top' shape.

Keane only lasted six months at Anfield before being unceremoniously dumped by former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, but McLeish believes the 31 year old can do a good job for Villa. In his press conference yesterday, McLeish said:

"You are now talking about a guy who is at his peak.

"We got a report from Tottenham that he looks in much better condition than he did this time last year when he went to West Ham. That’s what we are hearing, he’s in tip-top shape.

"He can make up for it if he is not as quick as he was at 19 because he has got the quickness in the head.

"At 19 there is a lot you don’t know, but at 31 you certainly know a lot more".

In my view, Keane's failure at Liverpool was down to Benitez, and I argued this repeatedly at the time.

With the constant substitutions; being played on the wing (!); being forcing into an unfamiliar role/system and being dropping every time he scored goals, Benitez's decision ensured that Keane ultimately failed. Let’s take a look at the facts:

Appearances - 28
Substituted - 18 times
On the bench - 5 times

* In 23 of Keanes's 28 appearances, he was either on the bench or substituted.

* Every time he scored, he was dropped/subbed the next game:

Oct 1 2008: Scores v PSV
Dropped the next game

Oct 22: Scores v Atletico Madrid
Subbed next game after 59 minutes.

Nov 8: Scored 2 against West Brom
Subbed next game after 59 minutes

Dec 26: Scored 2 v Bolton
Dropped the next game

How exactly was Keane supposed to settle in, build up confidence and gain an understanding with his team-mates when he was always being substituted/dropped?

Anyway, that's all in the distant past now. Best of luck to Keane at Villa.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. if we kept him that season we may have won the league having another proven striker in the side alongside torres or to replace him when injured.

  2. crap hes finished and was when rafa signed him. good luck villa as youll need it

  3. He didn't fit into the formation, we shouldn't have bought him to begin with. He needs to be in a 4-4-2.

  4. I said that it was a mistake to buy him before we bought him and so it proved. Berbatov was the creative player in that Spurs team, not Keane. Liverpool have made so many obvious mistakes in recent years, and unfortunately the trend doesn't look like ending anytime soon :-(

  5. His signing does sound like a "what could have been story", but not sure I agree with you on this one Jaimie

    The Robbie Keane story was a strange on for the club, his six month tenure betwee August and December on the sidelines was actually one of our best periods we had domestically and in Europe. Look at the facts:

    We spent between August - December head to head with Chelsea at the top of the table and at the half way point were 3 points ahead of them at the top of the table.

    After 20 games we had won more than anyone (13) and lost the least (1) without Robbie Keane featuring as much as he would have liked

    We qualified in our CL group without losing and had the highest points tally alongside Bayern Munich (14 points, higher than Barcelona, R Madrid, Chelsea, United, Juventus, Inter and AC Milan)

    So during the time R. Keane was at the club we out performed everyone domestically and in Europe.

    I call this strange as you would equate a 20mm player who fails to feature (albeit down to the manager's decision) with failure in the domestic league or the champions league but we actually performed very well in both competitions so why would Rafa change any of that to suit Robbie Keane?

    Rafa's decisions regarding Keane may have seen the player fail, but the club certainly was not failing and sureley thats what counts.  

  6. We scored 42 goals in 18 games after Keane was sold, Goalscoring wasnt a problem.

  7. WOW!! Jamie you really do have a hard on for critiscising Rafa dont you lol.

  8. Keane ruined his chances at Liverpool when he attempted a backheel volley against Athletico Madrid having already scored one

    I knew at that moment my "7 Keane" jersey was going to get old quickly

    Keane is a super player, 53 goals in 113 international games. What a legend!!!

  9. This site always use misleading headlines, shameful really. No one is bothered about Keane. Stop wasting our time.

  10. Yes, I forgot - Rafa Benitez is a god, and is beyond criticism.

    If you disagree then put forward your counter-argument.

  11. Benitez is not "Beyond criticism" at all, but your unrelenting hatred of the man is ridiculous, im surprised you havent layed down a few (Twisted to meet your agenda) "Facts" to make Benitez at fault for 9-11 or JFK's death.

  12. Rafa was a perfectionist and a control freak. When players didn't fit his system and do well in the roles he assigned them then they inevitably got replaced and/or dropped. I suppose you could "blame" Rafa for that but it's just his way of working. Plenty of players have done well under Rafa's systems. With players like Keane and Babel I never had any trouble seeing that they didn't work well within what Rafa tried to do. They didn't quite have the strategic and decision making intelligence. As an Irish football fan I've always known that about Robbie. He's a guy who needs the ball at his feet and about 3 decent opportunities before he actually gets a decent shot on goal. That just doesn't work with Rafa's style of football. In that sense I do wonder still why we bought him. I think Rafa's primary mistake is thinking that players have an ability to adapt to what he's going to require of them. Some like Torres could do exactly that and when they followed his instructions to the letter they became better players. Most of his failed signings fit in the category of players who just aren't flexible in terms of the strategic role they play in the team. 

  13. he scored against arsenal and wasnt dropped or subbed next game... hes making things up

  14. Robbie Keane wasn't an intelligent enough player to fit into Rafa's way of playing - simple as that! Rafa signed some good players with natural ability but that ultimately failed because their 'footballing brains' weren't up to it.
    Robbie Keane was an embarrassment when he played for us. He would run around like a headless chicken at times, lambasting his teammates when he didn't read a through ball, or they chose not to play him the ball because of the awful position he had taken up. If he was a foreign player (non-British or Irish) then he would have been labelled a big-headed prima donna - I can't remember the last time we signed a player who moaned at his teammates so much! And how many times did he miss his kick when two yards from goal. Unbelievable!
    I agreed with Rafa when we signed him. We needed a number seven. Keane had just had a couple of great seasons with spurs and ticked all the boxes. i was excited. Unfortunately though, his move was a disaster and I think most would agree that Rafa did the right thing by selling him.  Plus, for the club to get such a large fee back from Tottenham was unbelievable.  
    I must say that all this negativity about Benitez really does annoy me. People have such short memories these days. In Rafa's first season he won the Champions League with a team that shouldn't have got anywhere near that. The following year we won the FA Cup, the year after we should have won the champions league again. Then, in 2008-09, we came 2nd in the league with 86 points. We lost only two league games all season. We dominated every single game - 60%+ possession, 20+ shots a game. We came so close. We had the best spine of any team in the world - Reina, Agger, Carragher, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerrard and Torres. I have no doubts whatsoever that under the current owners Rafa would have delivered the title.
    I am delighted to have Kenny back, I have been buzzing about that for a year, but people should definitely get off Rafa's back. He did a great job for us that due to unfortunate circumstances, and a number of enforced gambles, started to go wrong. He still has a house in Liverpool and him and his wife are still involved with a number of charity organizations in Liverpool.
    Rafa - thank-you, all the best for the future, and YNWA

  15. Thanks for the good times Robbie Keane. May you rest in peace at Villa. Me. Ashfah dont have the opportiunity to love you.

  16. When Keane went back to Spurs after his 'LFC Adventure' he hardly set the world alight, so something obviously wasnt right with Keane.

  17. ...and who was in charge of the team during this spell???

    If he was given full support from his board he would have taken us further. Read "44 Months with a pair of cowboys". Brian Reade hits the nail on the head.
    Every manager makes mistakes but Rafa's were blown out of all proportion by everyone. He loves the club, the fans and the city and should be respected for what he brought us. Before he signed for us, Liverpool and Chelsea were both looking for a manager at the same time. Mourinho & Benitez were the two most sought after managers at the time and Hicks & Gillett went for the more experienced of the two. If the roles were reversed, Roman would have had his 'Holy Grail' sitting on his yacht to show off at his lavish parties and they would have been dominating the EPL as well as CL. Mourinho got lucky at Chelsea because of Roman's money while Rafa had to root around in the bargain bucket after a few seasons but look who he brought in for not that much (compared to Chelsea).
    If he were to be re-appointed after Kenny retires, I'll be a happy LFC supporter!

  18. Declan, this, my friend, is the best post I have seen in a while.

  19. You also need to look at the results in the new year only 2 wins out of 7 in January and February , Keane by now was featuring less and less and by the end of January had gone. You could say the bombing out of Keane lost us the league knocked out the FA Cup as well, it took us till March to recover why lose a player like Keane at such an important time of the season when we only had one forward Torres? All top teams had 3 or 4 forwards we had 2 and Ngog.
    Like you said we were doing so well!

  20. Keane was part of the reason we were top at Christmas, and part of the  reason why we finished 2nd at the end of the season!

  21. touchy! :)

    Benitez won the Champions League and reached another final. For all his mistakes, and there were many, he put Liverpool FC at the top of the European pile consistently. We hadn't been there since the mid-eighties and we won't be back there any time soon. That's a pretty strong counter-argument all by itself, surely?

  22. we only won the champions league with him because it was the previous managers squad ! after a year benitez put his stamp on liverpool and thats when we turned crap , also he was only interested in the champions league and played the worst players in important premier matches . worst manager that has been at the club by far and should quit managing forever. the only good thing he did was sign torres .

  23. Liam Kay, you are clearly a simpleton. We won the CL inspite of the squad Benitez inherited.  Not because of it.

  24. spot on lad,
    Only difference for me is that I would prefer Benitez back instead of having Kenny now. IMO Kenny is taking us backwards, and we will not reach the top four (this season at least) or win a trophy i'm afraid. I love the guy, and he is a legend, but is the wrong man for the job. If Benitez hadd the same money to spend as KD has had over the last year, I would say that top four would have been guaranteed

  25. Yup scoring wasn't a problem. The manager in charge at that time was.

  26. The title of your articles are misleading and a waste of my time. Just use straight talking headlines so we're not disappointed at the useless crap you put on here.

  27. Shut the fuck up kuntwar

  28. im a pool fan but u dont know what ya talkin about how many english players has scored 50+ goals for there country ya that rite none good deal for villa an we see how rubbish he is n de euros he a good player still an does it time an time again for his country think before u type please

  29. Check the results in January and Febuary only 2 wins we didn't recover until March.

  30. Keane was and still is the kind of player who can miss chances , look like they're having a bad day but often will pop up in the right place in the last couple of minutes of games and snatch a winner .. he probably wouldn't have half the amount of international goals if he'd been taken off after an hour every game.. Benitez blew that league and nobody should forget that.

  31. It really winds me up about how so many people cannot see how well Benitez did ......i for one would have him back in a heartbeat. Liverpool under Benitez were a team that every European club wanted to avoid. He was never fully backed in the transfer market as his targets were always deemed too expensive and he was forced to go with his 3rd or 4th choice. Liverpool targeted Danny Alves, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, one playing at arguably the worlds most attractive footballing team whilst the last 2 are thriving at Man City..... we can only imagine what these three could have brought to a team that already had Reina, Carragher, Agger, Mascherano, Alonso, Gerard and Torres........