Yossi Benayoun was superb in his 20 minute cameo against Spurs yesterday and looked like the only Liverpool player on the pitch who was capable of creating anything. After his excellent contribution last season, Benayoun should be starting every game but he continues to be ignored by Rafa Benitez.
I really can’t understand why Benayoun didn’t start at White Hart Lane; he really came into his own last season and the momentum he built up should have been allowed to continue. Instead, one of Liverpool’s only proven flair players was dumped on the bench. Again.
Take a look at Benayoun’s record from last season:
League/CL starts – 24 (21 league/3 CL)
Goals â€“ 9
Assists â€“ 6
Total: 15 goals scored/created in 24 games.
*Scores/created a goal in 63% of games in which he starts
* 8 of Benayoun â€˜s goals and ALL assists came when he STARTED
* Last season: 15 sub appearances â€“ Only 1 goal scored/created.
The stats speak for themselves: start Benyoun and he will score/create goals. Use him as a sub and he will score/create next to nothing.
Benitez undoubtedly has access to these figures but he still relegates Benayoun to the bench. A similar situation occurred with Peter Crouch, who at one point had a record of 38 goals scored/created in 43 starts. Despite such outstanding figures, he was still inexplicably dumped on the bench regularly.
People talk about Liverpool’s spine of Reina, Carra, Masch, Gerrard and Torres being so great – well, in my view, Benayoun should be part of that spine and should start as many games as possible.
It was clear from the Spurs game that Liverpool lost the battle in midfield; apart from being unable to retain possession, the famed Gerrard/Torres was nullified because the supply through to Gerrard was cut-off. As a result, Liverpool were tamed.
Until Albert Aquilani is available, Gerrard should be moved back into midfield and Benayoun should play behind Torres; this will bring more balance to the midfield and will make the best use of Benayoun’s talents.