Although neither the most flamboyant nor the most gifted of the current players in the Liverpool squad, Dirk Kuyt is certainly one its stars.
There are those that have criticized Kuyt for a lack of goals in a Red shirt and his inability to reproduce the exception return of 71 goals in only 101 appearances he achieved in the Dutch League while with Feyenood.
But be that as it may, there is no doubting the value of the Dutchman to this Liverpool team.
Kuyt is arguably one of the fittest and hardest working players, not only in the Liverpool team, but quite possibly the entire Premier League.
Coupled with his tireless running on and off the ball for the good of the Liverpool cause, is Kuyt’s knack of grabbing crucial goals in Champions League ties.
His 12th goal in 35 European ties, last night took him into an impressive third place on
Liverpool’s list of their all time leading goal scorers in European football. He sits only
two behind Kop legend Ian Rush.
Last night, it wasn’t Torres or Gerrard that pulled Liverpool through a tough test, it was Liverpool’s Dutch cult hero who once again stepped up with a decisive goal.
On a night where Liverpool were, not for the first time, wasteful in front of goal, it was Kuyt’s instinctive finish that saved the Reds some embarrassing blushes yet again.
After some neat work and powerful shot from Torres forced the Hungarian goalkeeper to only parry the ball, it was Kuyt who was first to react hammering it into the net whilst fending off the attentions of a Debrecen defender.
That strike, right on the stroke of half time, proved to be decisive as Liverpool were not able to add to that and stuttered to an unimpressive 1-0 victory.
This was not the first time that Kuyt has saved Liverpool’s blushes. It was his decisive strike in the dying moments against Standard Liege in the 2008-09 campaign that dragged Liverpool through the qualifiers into the Group stages.
Kuyt’s importance to this Liverpool team, particularly in the Champions League, is a topic that should not be up for debate. Last night’s grafting performance topped off with the winning goal was typical of Dirk Kuyt’s invaluable contributions to Liverpool’s continued success in Europe.