It is not often that I feel the need to come out in defence of a modern day footballer, but the treatment that Alberto Aquilani has got from the Press, pundits and some supporters has been somewhat unfair and out of line. The Italian just doesn’t seem to be getting a break and it is extremely harsh to say the least.
Unfortunately we live in a football culture now where you either fly or die, where if you were a striker you are expected to score from day one, or as a goalie is expected to keep clean sheets. Common sense has gone out of the window, or an understanding of an individual’s circumstance, therefore Aquilani is considered one of the biggest transfer flops of the season on the grounds of very little. The pundits have had a field day in taking a swipe at the Italian in their end of year reviews, rather than actually look at the individual’s plight.
Whether Aquilani was the right signing for Liverpool and whether Benitez should have spent the £20m elsewhere is a debate for another time, but the truth of the matter is that Aquilani wasn’t fit when we bought him and there was nothing to suggest that he would be ready for first team action on a regular basis until some months into the season. Nothing has changed and while Rafa is being criticised for perhaps being slightly protective of Aquilani in terms of throwing him into first team action, surely it is understandable to take the softly approach, given the extent of his injury. We don’t know how good Aquilani will be for Liverpool and whether he can be that playmaker we desperately need in midfield, but surely he deserves to be judged once he has been given a run in the team and not be dismissed before he has been given the opportunity. It is time that his knockers got off his back and instead reserve judgment once they have actually seen him play; Alberto doesn’t deserve this and I hope come the end of the season he will have done more than silenced his critics.
Written By Jerome Johnstone