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There once was player called Christian Poulsen who played a key role in Sevilla's 2007 UEFA Cup triumph. The same Poulsen had previously been a stalwart for Schalke, FC Copenhagen and Holbaek. That same Poulsen was widely regarded as one of the top pure defensive midfielders in European football. A tidy passer, a solid tackler, a hard worker and an non-stop runner in the midfield. That was the description I heard so many times come from the mouths and pens of some of European footballs most respected experts.
The mighty Juventus were so impressed by that Poulsen, they splashed out almost £10 million to bring him from Seville to Turin in the summer of 2008. Despite the fact they already had Momo Sissoko on their books, they felt they couldn't enjoy success until they signed that Poulsen.
So sign him they did, and then something very strange happened. That Poulsen became thisPoulsen. Now I can't be sure what happened exactly, perhaps the real Poulsen decided he'd had enough of football and moved home to Denmark to build canoes and sent a doppelgänger to Turin as his replacement.
Perhaps he broke a mirror and was cursed. Or perhaps he was foolish enough to cross Chuck Norris, prompting the only man God fears to roundhouse kick the hapless Dane and knock the footballing ability out of him. I really don't know. What I do know is that the Poulsen who played for Juventus was a shadow of the man who patrolled the midfield so well for Schalke and Sevilla.
One man who didn't know that, was Roy Hodgson. Good old Hodgson decided that Poulsen was the man to replace the soon to depart Javier Mascherano in the defensive midfield role for Liverpool and splashed out £4.5 million to bring him to Merseyside. Now it has been known to happen where a player has a poor spell at a club, moves on to a new one with a new manager reinvigorates him and makes him the player he originally was.
Well, it certainly didn't happen here. Poulsen lost his place to Lucas Leiva and never came close to getting it back.
He did experience a mini-revival when Kenny Dalglish took over and turned in solid performances away to Blackpool, away to Wolves and at home to Fulham in the weeks following Dalglish's return to the club. It didn't last, though, and he spent the rest of the season hoping at best to make the bench.
Liverpool have tried to sell him this summer, a couple of teams seem interest, but Poulsen doesn't want to leave. He says he wants to prove himself. I say nobody else will give him the £60,000 a week that Hodgson handed him.