Football FanCast columnist Jerome Johnstone wonders what Rafa should do with Yossi Benayoun.
If the player of the year award was announced tomorrow then I don’t think there will be many Liverpool fans who will fail to nominate Yossi Benayoun as their chosen one. The Israeli has been one of the club’s leading lights and has proved a model of consistency throughout the season; however with Alberto Aquilani close to full fitness and expected to move into the central role alongside Javier Mascherano, what next for Yossi and where should he be deployed.
The ideal solution in Rafa’s eyes would be to play him out wide left or right, but is that really going to bring the best out of the Israeli? We all know that his best position in the Liverpool team is when he plays in the Stevie Gerrard role coasting behind the front men, where his skills and clever passing can be utilised to a greater advantage. Fernando Torres always comes out in high praise of Yossi’s abilities and while I would always give Gerrard the nod over the Israeli, I wonder if there is a way that Rafa can incorporate all three in a 4-3-2-1 formation.
I believe it is a system that is certainly worth investigating and one that will enable Rafa to utilise Yossi’s abilities whilst ensuring that the side retains it shape. With Aquilani set to return you can put him a three way central pairing with Lucas and Mascherano, with Gerrard and Benayoun both playing in behind Torres. I think the harsh reality is that Benitez isn’t going to have pot loads of cash to spend therefore we won’t be able to bring in a decent striker to partner Torres, so why not use Gerrard and Benayoun to not only supply the ammo for Fernando, but provide the goals that will take the pressure off the Spaniard. Marking one player in the hole is hard enough, but imagine how difficult it would be with two. I know such a formation would seem like the team will be bereft of width and it will put a lot of pressure on the likes of Insua and Johnson to provide it, but perhaps it will prove better than what the likes of Kuyt, Babel and Riera currently provide when we have the flat midfield four.
So what should Rafa do with Benayoun and should he look to experiment with a change of formation to incorporate him, I mean wouldn’t it be a waste to stick him out on the wing? Or should Rafa simply utilise him as a super sub, should Aquilani and Gerrard start in the team?