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Why he was never going to fit in Liverpool’s offensive structure

Football FanCast
columnist
Steven Woodgate feels that Robbie Keane just simply couldn't
fit into Liverpool's offensive structure.

 


Robbie Keane exclusion from the Liverpool Squad seems
bemusing for many fans and critics alike. Against Chelsea, his presence wasn't
necessarily needed and it seems that he would have taken up a valuable place on
the bench.

 

Many fanatics, me included, thought Keane was brought in to
support Fernando Torres up top but as time wore on, it became obviously
recognisable that he could not fit into the Liverpool ‘offensive structure'.

 

Well Torres was always going to have that starting berth
up-front ahead of Keane. Torres is practically irreplaceable. Keane was brought
in not to replace him but to support him as one of the attacking three
midfielders as he finds it difficult to lead the line. He doesn't have the
discipline or the tolerance to wait for the ball to come to him; he needs to be
involved in play. He is endlessly dropping back deep to receive the ball,
virtually becoming a part of the midfield. That is not necessarily a criticism,
his youthful exuberance is a joy to watch but his style does not suit the lone
role up-front where Torres excels.

 

If Steven Gerrard were to be injured, it would be expected
that Keane would slot into his position as both players use similar areas to
receive the ball and create space. Keane is not the player Gerrard is by any
means but it seems that Keane was brought in as an overpriced spare man to play
in the absence of his captain. In a 4-4-2, formation with Gerrard on the right
side of midfield might ideally work for Keane but that is not getting the most
out of Liverpool's prodigal son.

 

Where else could Keane play?

 

The hard crafting Dirk Kuyt has made the right attacking
midfield position his own though his sheer hard work. He is one of Rafa
Benitez's favourites and the stunning performances of newcomer Albert Riera
certainly adds character to that left side, a position that was troublesome
last year. Therefore, these positions are a no go.

 

Understandably, Ryan Babel and Yossi Benayoun are ahead of
Keane on the subs bench for the left and right midfield positions. Benitez is
more likely to substitute Kuyt or Riera so that is why Babel and Benayoun would
be on the bench ahead of Keane.

 

The highly talented David Ngog has been given the substitute
striker position on the bench where the manager believes that the young
Frenchman can play the lone striker role better than Keane. It doesn't justify
Liverpool paying £20.3 million in the first place.

 

Keane realistically
cannot play to his full capacity out on the wings and it would be difficult,
almost damn near impossible to surpass Gerrard in that central role. Yes, he did
replace the captain at the game at Wigan but that is very much a rarity.
Benitez probably thought Liverpool would win the game early and give Gerrard a
much-needed rest.

 

Keane will play regularly if
Gerrard is ruled out for injury or suspension but no fan nor football supporter
alike would like that (well accept Manchester United fans). Keane was not
dropped from the squad on bad form; Benitez simply didn't include him as it
made sense. Gerrard was needed for the whole game against Chelsea and Everton, simple
as that.

 

 

Article title: Why he was never going to fit in Liverpool’s offensive structure

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