By: Gareth Freeman
I’m going to take a break from my usual match previews and football betting picks for this latest article because I think he whole Robbie Keane transfer has thrown up a few questions about the way things are done at Anfield.
Cast your mind back too last summer, was Robbie Keane Benitez’s top transfer target? Nope, he wanted Gareth Barry but was told the club didn’t want to shell out the money for him. Villa wanted somewhere round the £20million mark for Barry but the board wouldn’t match that. Despite this they were totally happy to pay £18.6million for Keane.
It seems blatantly obvious to me that Bentitez never really wanted Keane and was never impressed by him when he did play. I don’t blame Keane for this, I do in fact think he is a class player and very much capable of playing for a top-side. The Irish striker just didn’t fit into Rafa’s tactics and system and if a manager never wanted a player it can be hard to break in. Keane’s stay at Anfield reminds me a lot of Andrei Shevchenko’s stay at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho never wanted him and he was left on the sidelines.
Unlike Keane, Barry was a player Benitez really wanted and as the season progresses the more I wish he’d been allowed to bring him in. Barry would have been great in the midfield and would have allowed Gerrard the space to move forward into the striker’s role as often as possible throughout a match. A midfield of Barry and Mascherano or Alonso with Gerrard given more freedom to roam would have been an extremely effective combination but unfortunately for Benitez is never materialised.
Benitez has admitted it is a bit of a gamble letting one of his forwards go, without bringing in a replacement, with Liverpool still competing for honours in the league, Champions League and FA Cup. Without Torres the forward line does look a bit light-weight but then again the Reds managed to see of Manchester United and Chelsea without Torres or Steven Gerrard earlier in the season and there is no reason why that can’t happen again.
The soccer betting odds may now have Manchester United as firm favourites for the title but Liverpool are still up there and that win over Chelsea was a very much needed three points. If Liverpool fail to win anything this season I wouldn’t place the blame on Benitez and Keane’s transfer, I’ll be looking at the board and asking why Rafa wasn’t given the backing he needed at the start of the campaign.
Friday, February 06, 2009
By: Gareth Freeman