For Liverpool's Midfield, It's Just a Question of Depth
There is no doubt from last season that Albert Riera made a superb impact on the left wing. Although the length of the season eventually got to him, in the beginning he was a breath of fresh air.
He was able to slot himself into one of the best midfields in the world almost effortlessly, playing a strong part in almost every area of play.
From the beginning Riera had an impact on the left side of midfield, spreading the field, taking on defenders, and then being willing to track back when needed. But the best part in my opinion was when Riera did fall out of form, the squad was strong enough to have two other quality left midfielders waiting in the wings (no pun intended) to take his place.
Riera was a prime example of Benitez’s stance that the club does not need to buy star powered player in order for it to have a strong impact on his squad.
Personally I would be extremely exited to see a similar style transfer this season on the right side of midfield. Now don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of the Dutchman Dirk Kuyt, but he was ultimately forced to play over 60 games last season.
Something that is sure to fatigue a player regardless of his title “Mr. Duracell.”
It was evident towards the end of last season that despite his best efforts fatigue began to get the best of the Dutch winger. There were games were during the run of play he was almost nowhere to be seen, something that is extremely rare for a player who is characteristically seen running around the pitch like a headless chicken attacking anything and everything that moves.
My point about bringing up these games is not to rag on Kuyt, because ultimately he had a good season. But instead to show that there were low points in his form, and even though he was playing poorly Liverpool couldn’t rest him because of a lack of depth on the right flank.
In discussing who would be a good buy for the club I’ve come across a few fans who seem to believe that we need a star powered player like that of Antonio Valencia, or Ricardo Quaresma to run our flanks. But I’d have to say that I think that would go against the compact midfield that Benitez has already created at Anfield.
What’s special about our midfielders is that they perform on both sides of the coin as a unit, all are good going forward and then when they have too, they can defend to full measure as well. But beyond the fact that they are versatile, what makes our team brilliant is that they can work in tandem together, attacking and defending as a unit.
We need a player who is versatile enough to fit into our squad and play as a team player instead of a solo star who refuses to track back and pass the ball.
I think the solution to deepening our squad comes in the form of Maxi Rodriguez, a player who has recently been linked with both Liverpool and Tottenham. Valued by Redknapp to be worth four million pounds (a price I believe to be far too low and would surely go up), but at that price or any under 10 million the 28-year-old Atletico Madrid captain would be a steal.
He’s a player who comes with a world of experience, already holding friendships with many of the Liverpool players, and talent averaging a goal every four games. But it’s not his scoring talent or experience that would be the greatest asset to the club but instead the style in which he approaches the game.
He is committed to a team orientated game, pulling his weight and that of his teammates around him.
I think it was more than evident from last season’s results that Liverpool has one of the best starting elevens in England. The only thing that stands in the club's way of a nineteenth Premier League title is depth.
Rodriguez is a player who could help further deepen the squad, giving Liverpool more options in both midfield and up top, his style would also in turn lead to more goals as he is a player know for creating space, space that is vital in turning 0-0 draws with teams like Stoke into season winning games.
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