Ryan Babel has reportedly had an attempted loan move to Ajax rejected by Liverpool. With the Dutchman largely reduced to appearances off the bench this season, it should probably come as no surprise.
Perusing the internet over the past few weeks, a common theme in Liverpool discussions has been the wish of many fans to see Babel given a starting role up front, and the fear that he may elect to leave if he doesn't get more playing time.
With Liverpool's recent lack of a cutting edge in front of goal, its an option I'm surprised Rafa hasn't taken. For me, the decision would have two major benefits.
Firstly, it would give Babel the game time he desperately wants, and enable him to develop. There's no doubt (for me) that he has talent, and if he can refine his game—which is only gong to occur with regular playing time—then I feel he could be an excellent Liverpool player for the future.
Secondly, it can benefit Robbie Keane as well. It's painfully obvious that Keane's Anfield career hasn't gone the way he, and the fans, would have expected when his purchase was announced. But to ask him to lead the line, and then play long balls to him as a lone striker, isn't going to enable him to perform as he did at Tottenham.
Keane was signed to play off Torres, and due to the Spainard's recurrent hamstring problems, we haven't been able to see that particular partnership develop as we wanted. In Babel however, Liverpool have a pacy frontman that is best going to replicate the way Torres would play.
It's not guaranteed to be successful, but having seen the Keane/Gerrard, Keane/Kuyt, formations fail to set the world on fire, surely it can't hurt to try. And with only top spot up for grabs, tonight's game against PSV in Holland would seem to be a good time to experiment.