Thursday, April 16, 2009

What About Babel?

What would you think of a coach who refuses to start an extremely fast and skilled 22 year old striker with loads of potential? You might call him crazy. Perhaps incompetent if he does not realize the talent he has on his bench. 

While Rafa Benitez is neither of those things (perhaps crazy) that is the situation he has on his hands when dealing with Ryan Babel. 

Ryan Babel came to Liverpool two seasons ago from Ajax as a youngster with loads of talent and potential. Babel was doing well in the Dutch league, and was quickly moving up the ranks on the Netherlands national team. Everything seemed to be in place for his breakout in the Premier League. 

A takeover or breakout has never come from Babel. Babel a natural striker has been stuck behind Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt in the lineup, and even Steven Gerrard seems to play up front more than Babel. 

This season Babel has only started 6 games and has now publicly admitted that he feels frustrated with his role on the team. If I could describe Babel's playing time this season in two words it would be erratic and infrequent. 

Babel claims to have made great improvements to his game but has never been given the chance or enough time to show it. It appears that Babel could be on his way out of Liverpool.

The question now becomes what is Rafa Benitez to do?

Babel is clearly a talented player, but he clearly should not be playing over Torres or Kuyt. Both of these players are well established in the Premier League and appear to be leaders on the team. 

The problem is a player like Babel will not want to sit on the bench for much longer. Plenty of teams could use another striker and would love to have Babel on their team. If Babel is not part of Liverpool's immediate plans, I think they should sell him. If Liverpool cares about Babel at all they will let him get playing time somewhere else. Perhaps a loan is possible? 

What do you think? Should Benitez play Babel more in order to keep him at Liverpool, or should he just let him go?

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