Just when things seem like they can’t get any worse for Rafa Benitez and Liverpool, another match arrives. The Anfield faithful have had to endure another torrid week after seeing their side once again fall victim to late goals as the Merseysiders crashed out of the F.A Cup and threw away two vital Premier League points. Liverpool new boy Maxi Rodriguez may have wondered what he had got himself into as he watched his new employers throw away a lead against Championship opposition and suffer a humiliating defeat.
The Benitez saga has been widely documented and you would have had to have been in hibernation to be unaware of Liverpool’s demise this season, so let’s take the positives from the week, of which there is only one; the arrival of the Argentinean.
Although Liverpool should not stop their January spending at Rodriguez, the winger is a good start. An excellent addition considering the financial circumstances, Maxi’s arrival at Anfield could not have happened sooner. Benitez himself appeared mightily relieved to have made an addition to the squad and seemed optimistic about the effect that the Argentine would have. Rafa said:
“I think he will adapt to English football because he is a clever player and takes up good positions on the pitch. He is good at getting into the box and is a good finisher. Every year he gets five to 15 goals from midfield.”
A clever player who scores five to fifteen goals a year from midfield? Sounds like just the tonic for Rafa.
Maxi is a versatile player and this will be key in determining his significance for Liverpool. His friendship with Mascherano can only help the winger settle sooner however, the recent injury blow to Torres has now hit the Reds twice as hard considering the pair used to have a flourishing partnership in the Spaniard’s Atlético Madrid days. He can play on either the left or right side of midfield and can also be deployed as a second striker, something that Benitez may opt to do considering his injury woes.
One thing that Liverpool have often been accused of this season is lacking excitement and conviction in their attacking play. The Reds have at times looked flat and in need of a cutting edge, something that the winger Albert Riera has not provided in this campaign. Maxi has pace, technical ability and can strike the ball well, you need only to review his strike against Mexico in the 2006 World Cup to remember this and in my opinion, the sooner he slots into the side, the better.
The Argentinean’s arrival may also finally make Rafa consider the option of playing Dirk Kuyt in his natural striker’s role, especially in Torres’ absence. Although David N’Gog has done an admirable job this season, the youngster is simply not experienced or strong enough to lead the Liverpool line on his own and I believe the side would benefit from a change in Kuyt’s position for the upcoming months.
We caught glimpses of Rodriguez as he made a substitute appearance in last weekend’s encounter with Stoke however his performance was too brief and the game too scrappy to pass any real judgement on the winger. Set to start his first game for the Red’s this weekend, Liverpool will need to midfielder to settle as soon as possible, because for all Maxi’s class and skill, the reality is that Liverpool are in trouble.
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