Much Ado About Momo: In Defense of Momo Sissoko

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Much Ado About Momo: In Defense of Momo Sissoko have struggled of late, and Rafael Benitez has come under intense scrutiny for his lineup decisions.

The two most criticised substitutions are Steven Gerrard's against Everton and Yossi Bennayoun's against Blackburn. In both cases, the correct desicion—in the eyes of fans, at least—would have been to pull Momo Sissoko.

The young Mali international has been pilloried for his subpar play. His ball retention in particular has been nothing short of awful. Even more troubling is the fact that he tends to misplace passes in his own half—with dire results, as witnessed in a 1-0 loss to Marseille in the Champions League.

Most fans will tell you that the solution here is simple: Sell Sissoko in January.

But is the Momo Sissoko debate really so easily resolved?

I'm certainly not the president of the Sissoko fan club, but I do believe the youngster can still play an important role at Anfield.

Make no mistake, Momo Sissoko is not a "bad" player. Bad players do not keep Steven Gerrard stuck on the right wing.

Anyone in attendance at the Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona would have seen Ronaldinho petulantly kicking at Sissoko. The reason? Sissoko had stifled the Brazilian all night.

Not many players can say they've kept Ronaldinho quiet.

A responder to one of my previous articles called Sissoko a "fag." That's a joke. After suffering an injury which threatened both his career and his eyesight, Sissoko returned months ahead of schedule—then took all of 20 minutes to throw off the protective glasses his doctor had advised him to wear and flew in for an aerial challenge.

The actions of a "fag"?

Grow up.

No, Sissoko is not a complete player. No, he doesn't currently deserve his place in the Liverpool lineup. But let's not forget that he's already suffered two career-threatening injuries, and has had the courage to criticise his own play.

Momo Sissoko has the potential to become a dominant midfielder for many years to come. I for one want this potential to be realized at Liverpool Football Club.

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