David Ngog had a baptism of fire last season at Anfield.
After Robbie Keane left Liverpool in January 2009, Ngog was essentially left as the club’s second choice striker behind Fernando Torres. As Torres struggled with injury, Ngog was thrust to the fore in a title challenge in his first season in England.
He struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game at first, and was ridiculed by some opposition fans and the media. Goal.com absurdly named him in their ‘Transfer Flops XI’ team for last season, conveniently overlooking Dimitar Berbatov, who cost roughly 20 times more than Ngog and is a decade his senior.
This season has been much more productive for Ngog. He has been one of the bright points of a faltering season for the Reds. The undoubted highlight was a goal in front of the Kop that ensured victory over fierce rivals Manchester United, as he raced through and finished with composure beyond his years.
He further demonstrated his finishing abilities with superbly well-taken goals against Birmingham City and Leeds United. Whilst he is still raw and learning, Ngog looks set to have a great future at Anfield.
Were it not for Liverpool’s difficult season, he may have been revered more by the press, in a similar way that Carlos Vela and Federico Macheda were when they broke through initially.
He has scored a goal just over every four games this season, which is an impressive record for a youngster, more so when you consider how many times he has played up front alone.
Having cost just £1.5million when he joined, Ngog already looks to have repaid his low transfer fee. If he can build on his positive start, and continue to progress (as he has so rapidly this season), Ngog could be a star in the making for Liverpool.
Written by Sean Mullan