Football FanCast guest columnist Paul Kaye is starting to realise why Rafa resisted a £14m offer for Dirk Kuyt
and how the Dutchman is becoming a key component to this Liverpool team.
One player who has taken over the Peter Crouch mantle among Liverpool
supporters, then it has to be Dirk Kuyt. Love him or loathe, then can be no
denying that the Dutchman has been something of a talisman, especially in
Europe and with every given game he plays for us, I'm getting to value his
presence even more.
I will be honest that I have been quite scathing of Kuyt in the past and
questioned Rafa's sanity. One of my pet hates in football is managers who put
square pegs in round holes and the thought of having a centre forward out on
the right wing left me somewhat bemused, especially given our lack of width.
But he has slowly grown into the role, looks accomplished within it and his
influence in the team seems to have galvanised those around him; no one more so
than our Captain marvel, Steven Gerrard.
As mentioned I have been critical of Rafa and his tendency to play people out
of position and one person that always seems to have got the thin end of the
wedge is Stevie G. He has played left, right, everywhere but his natural
central midfield role, in which he is at his most dangerous. The emergence of
Kuyt and providing that balance, between attacking and defensive endeavour, on
the right has freed up our Captain, and we all know how devastating he has been
in the last 12 months.
I know there was a huge lobby of Liverpool fans that would happily see the
back of Kuyt and thought that the club were crazy to turn down Hamburg's £14m
offer in the summer. It is fair to say that was a brave sum of money for Rafa
to dismiss, but it just shows how highly he is regarded by Benitez. I am finally
starting to understand his viewpoint and realise that the sacrificing of the
Dutchman would have a detrimental effect on the rest of the team. We could have
a flying winger on the right, but will he provide the necessary cover of the
backline that Kuyt provides? The fact of the matter that with the Dutchman on
the right it frees up the likes of Gerrard and Alonso to get forward at will
and won't compromise our solidarity in midfield. That is why Kuyt is now
becoming a key component in this side and why we should resist any such
approach in January.