Sunday, 20 September 2009


FIRST Dirk Kuyt, then Yossi Benayoun - is Ryan Babel the next to prove the doubters wrong?

I hope so. It's been a good week for the sulky Dutchman who has offered more in two cameo appearances as a substitute than he did for 67 minutes on the opening day at Spurs.

His cross for Fernando Torres' second goal against West Ham yesterday was superb and he looked lively coming off the bench against Debrecen, too.

When he's on form and firing, he looks the part. We just need to see it more often. Perhaps with Rafa Benitez dismissing talk of him going back to Ajax, he has (finally) decided to knuckle down.

As I said in my recent blog about Benayoun, hopefully he will serve as an example to Babel of how to win a place in the team.

Looking at the bigger picture, he's got to start shining soon or he's going to miss out on the World Cup.

Oddly, he's looked more comfortable coming down the right in his last two showings. Go with it I say, starting with the game at Leeds in the Carling Cup. That would be the perfect place for Babel to really show what he's capable of. Here's hoping.

It was good to see Torres back to his old self against the Hammers. His first goal was vintage El Nino with the trademark burst of pace that seems to have been missing back for all to see.

There were shades of his goal against Chelsea at Anfield when he tore Tal Ben Haim apart.

His header was class too, as was his all-round performance. Before the match at Upton Park he was scoring and doing OK but he cut a frustrated figure and his tricks just didn't seem to be coming off.

Hopefully now he is back to his best - handy with the Chelsea game not too far away.

Much has been made already of the goals we conceded at West Ham and there's no getting away from it, Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel looked shaky.

It was a very un-Carragher like display from Jamie, who looks to be struggling for form right now.

I'd back him all day to come out of his sticky patch, though - it's far too early in the day to be writing him off as many, amazingly, are.

The zonal marking debate has emerged again, too, but if you watch Carlton Cole's goal surely it is just a case of a huge beast of a man out-jumping a defender who is smaller than him? You can't win 'em all!

It was the same with one of the goals conceded to Aston Villa - Curtis Davies scored it and he must be at least 6ft 3ins.

Saying all that, I'm looking forward to the return of Daniel Agger. While I like Carra and Skrtel, they are both out and out defenders and don't offer too much going forward.

Agger is the closest thing we have got to Alan Hansen at the club and he can really influence the play on his day. He's good in the air, has got a great shot and is much more comfortable on the ball than his two rivals for a starting spot at centre half.

Hopefully he can do for us what Thomas Vermaelen is doing for Arsenal - what a goal that second one was against Wigan.

Anyway, it's Leeds next up and they will be no mugs in front of a sell-out crowd at Elland Road.

Hopefully Babel will use the game to keep up his recent improvement and other fringe men will seize their chance to shine.


Dave Molyneux said...

Must admit, i was pretty impressed with Babel (Phil Pugh) yesterday for the first time since we beat the mancs last year when he got the winner.

As for Carragher, i think he's playing too many games. I'd give the very impressive Ayala or San Jose a match ahead of him as he's getting on a bit now and the legs are sadly starting to go.

The only worrying thing about last night wa sthe fact that a player of Carlton Cole's standard gave Carragher & Skrtel and absolute fucking nightmare!!! Imagine what someone like Drogba or Rooney are capable of doing?

Time to tighten up chaps!

Anonymous said...

i was dreaming of babel scoring the winner v west ham but he did the next best thing, good skill n delightful chip cross. Wud like to see skrtel n agger starting to form a good partnership for the future. Also well done to lucas aswell, i think that strength training has helped him.
Cant wait to see aqua man play tho, how long for him?

robbohuyton said...

@Dave - I think Carlton Cole's improved a lot and as we saw, he's good in the air. But Carra and Skrtel seem to have some kind of confidence crisis going on. We've got that Greek fella there as well to relieve the pressure but Agger's the key for me.

@Anon - October was the last I heard for Aquilani, not heard anything more specific than that.

Anonymous said...

Iv been questioning carra since the 2007 champions league final!
I believe he cost us that final playing inzagi on side and then not even attempting to get back as the ball rolled in slowly for what was the winner.

Now i know he has been a giant for us and a servant lfc, but he has lost a yard in pace.... Now the pace the game is played at his heroic tackling can only bail him out so many times... And from corners he is very much at fault for some goals conceded, though he will blame the nearest player he can find... I have been a supporter of carra and still am...

But he needs improve his postioning to compensate for the lack of pace we will suffer.... The only way this will improve is when agger returns, as agger is much skilled than skrtl in bringing the ball out of defence and this may give carra more confidence.

Anonymous said...

Carragher is finished. He has never had positional sense - his game has always been based on guts, workrate and herioc last-ditch tackling but I'm afraid herioc last-ditch tackling minus a yard of pace = penalties and free-kicks galore. Not to mention that a tired defender who is struggling is more likely to make mistakes - Jamie's been looking tired after about 10 mins in games recently.

Anonymous said...

Its just a matter of time Babel will prove his worth. A player that done so well at Ajax just dont lose the magic. Same goes for Lucas. What we fail to understand is they are still youngsters. Skill levels might be great but intelligence levels only go up in time. Thats the only thing that Babel lacked in my view game intelligence. Its natural to some like Benayoun but not all players have it. Once Babel picks that up hes gonna be dangerous. I think this season we are gonna see alot of changes in players playing ability and formation. Aqualani is another great addition if he adapts to the game quick enough. This lad is the cream when hes on the field with great passing and attacking ability. Only time will tell. Till then lads YNWA!

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's a coincidence that Babel played better in the last couple of games because he played on the right. About time Rafa, I have never understood why he is seen as a left winger - he clearly isn't. looks much more comfortable on the right or through the middle

Anonymous said...

An era comes and an era goes . Carrie has served well but is showing to be a tired old horse now . To pasture with him before his slide goes any further I would say . Thanks then Carrie but time to step down a peg or two .

Anonymous said...

I dont want to be negative but Babel is not just lacking intelligence.
Babel has no left foot and his 1st touch is very poor at times.
Not only that i think the "he is still young" line is a kop out, for me people who play for liverpool need to be world class if not very close to it, or like kuyt work his socks off to make up for the lack of technical ability.

We all know full well that babel has pace, but he has no control to go with it, he reminds me of a young cisse.

Honestly he is not a player i expect to be at liverpool for much longer.

We also need to start producing youngsters because of all the home grown rules these days, and people like babel who are not giving us that much when on the pitch could be spent on a homegrown player to get experience playing in big games.

I am seriously worried for the future of liverpoolfc but will love my club till death, and ten million pound signings like babel will never change that. YNWA

Dave Molyneux said...

>Carragher is finished!!! Utter rubbish mate

He is still a damn fine player, but I think he’s playing too many games for his age. I know Agger is injured, but we do have cover (Ayala, San Jose & The Greek Fella whose name no one can pronounce)

It’s a sad fact that some people are pointing the finger at Carra when at the end of the day, if he’s picked, he’s hardly gonna turn around to Rafa and say: “er, ye know what boss, I’m gonna sit this one out today if ye don’t mind?”. He’s not that type of player and as he stated in his book, he WILL fight for his place at all costs.

Rafa should start playing him less in my opinion

robbohuyton said...

I'm with Dave on this one, calls to get rid of Carragher are extremely premature.

A couple of bad games don't make him a bad player. Vidic has had his fair share of 'mares (at least two of them against us) and no-one's calling for him to hang up his boots.

I seem to remember similar debates regarding Sami Hyypia - his legs have gone, he's lost it etc etc - but he still proved to be a more than useful player, so much so that some fans kicked off when he left this summer!

You just can't win with some people...

Anonymous said...

i think it's about time to not play carra regularly.. use the sub rafa. he's getting older and slower now and wont admit mistake and of course blame it on others.

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