As Liverpool prepare to face local-rivals Everton in the Premier League this weekend, one of the Reds’ most committed stars has voiced concerns over his lack of game time this season. Dutchman Dirk Kuyt had previously been a regular starter for the Merseysiders since he sealed a switch to Anfield in 2006, however the 31-year-old forward is now having to get used to spending more time on the bench. Kuyt has started just three of Liverpool’s six Premier League games so far this term, and the former Feyenoord man wants to see more action.
In many respects, a number of Reds’ fans would argue that the Netherlands striker deserves to play more minutes. After all, Kuyt ended last season as Liverpool’s top-scorer in the Premier League, with 13 goals to his name. And his case is strengthened by the fact that the players who currently appear to be ahead of him in the pecking order – Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll – are still finding their feet at Anfield. Surely Kenny Dalglish would be better off going with the tried and tested, ultra-dedicated workhorse ahead of younger players who are yet to fulfil their potential?
But there are reasons behinds Dalglish’s methods. The Scot spent a huge amount of money on the two players named above and therefore it would be rather strange of him not to give them a good chance. Some would also suggest that dropping someone like Henderson now would severely dent his confidence. Instead, the manager is able to rotate more freely thanks to the number of options at his disposal. This is the first time Liverpool have enjoyed such a great level of strength in depth in a number of years, therefore it may take some of the Reds’ stars time to adjust to the system of rotation.
Indeed, Kuyt is not the only player who is in this situation. Carroll himself has started just four league games this season, while Martin Skrtel – who played every single minute in the top-flight last season – has only started half of Liverpool’s games. Meanwhile, Argentine winger Maxi Rodriguez, who bagged 10 Premier League goals last season, has played just 17 minutes in the competition so far this term. Maxi will undoubtedly be given more time to prove himself as the campaign progresses, but for now, he – like Kuyt- must be patient.
With Craig Bellamy now on the books at Anfield and influential skipper Steven Gerrard resuming full fitness, things might yet get tougher for Kuyt before they get better. However, Dalglish will know that the Dutchman usually performs well in the Merseyside derby – he has scored five league goals against Everton in as many full seasons at the club – and if Liverpool are in need of a goal during the game this weekend, then the manager may just turn to Kop hero Kuyt.
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