Craig Bellamy: 5 Reasons Liverpool Should Fight to Keep Him
Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy is just one of several Reds stars who have been linked with a move away from the club this summer, as a year of changes looks to beset Liverpool after the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager.
While an exodus of elder players was expected, with Fabio Aurelio, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez having already exited the club, there has been surprise expressed at the possibility of Bellamy joining them in leaving Anfield this summer.
With Bellamy currently on duty at the London 2012 Olympics it is still by no means certain that he will leave the club, with neither player nor team confirming anything of the sort.
Here are five reasons why Brendan Rodgers should try to convince Bellamy that, for this season at least, staying with Liverpool would be the best way to go.
Brendan Rodgers will be utilising a 4-3-3 system at Liverpool, as shown in his preseason matches and the Europa League qualifier against Gomel.
In this formation, Craig Bellamy is equally adept in any of the three forward line positions, be it as a more orthodox winger on the right, an inside forward cutting in from the left or a striker playing off the shoulder of the centre backs.
His pace and ability to beat a man make him a danger in all three positions and, at a time when Maxi and Dirk's exits have weakened the Reds considerably in this department, they could do without losing another.
Ability to Beat a Man
Something touched on in the previous slide, Bellamy has that burst of acceleration, the pace and the muscle to get past defenders and create danger in and around the penalty area.
Liverpool have some good players throughout the squad, but Bellamy is one of the few who have this ability to dribble past a defender.
Brendan Rodgers' passing philosophy is all well and good, but no side should ever become so predictable that they have no other option than to await the correct moment to pass into the penalty area. Bellamy offers something different and should be kept to keep offering a different form of attack.
Experience Is Important
As previously mentioned, several of the more experienced players of the squad have upped sticks and left Liverpool, either by their own volition or as a result of being surplus to requirements.
Bellamy should fit neither category.
He loves Liverpool, has returned to the club for a second spell, and is neither one of the biggest earners in the squad nor past his use-by date.
Liverpool have a young midfield and final third, with the likes of Fabio Borini, Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling and Andy Carroll all barely out of their teens or still in them.
The Reds do need to keep some experience in their ranks, even as they build, and Bellamy's attitude and application in games is a real example for the younger lads to emulate.
Lack of Quality in the Squad
Playing on the left side of the forwards in Liverpool's first competitive match under Brendan Rodgers—the Europa League qualifier against Gomel—was Joe Cole.
That is the position Bellamy would be most likely to fill for the Reds.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cole lasted barely 20 minutes of his Liverpool return before succumbing to injury, and had had minimal input on the game until then. Seventeen-year-old Raheem Sterling was his replacement, and no other forward was on the bench for the Reds.
Admittedly, Andy Carroll was left behind and Luis Suarez was in the Olympics, but the dearth of numbers and quality in the Liverpool squad at this moment—especially in the final third—should be evidence enough to keep Craig Bellamy for a further season.
Too Few Goals Last Season from Liverpool
Liverpool's goalscoring woes were well-documented and oft-recalled last season, so it stands to reason that they might want to keep one of the few players who actually did manage to net a few for them.
Bellamy scored nine times for Liverpool last season in all competitions, by coincidence the same number of goals he scored in his first spell with the club.
In a more progressive and attacking formation he could realistically be expected to better that this season if played in a similar number of games, and his finishing ability—including scoring goals at important moments or in big games, such as the Carling Cup semifinal—would be a big boost to the Reds.
If Bellamy does eventually transfer away from the club this summer, he leaves behind him yet another sizeable hole which Rodgers will have to fill—and quite aside from his goals and experience, his training-pitch manner and attitude is one which any incoming signing will struggle to match.