With the team starting to play matches the competition for first team places starts to hot up.
The obvious place will be upfront where we have four strikers competing for two places. Two of last years forwards, Peter Crouch and Dirk Kuyt, have responded by welcoming the renewed competition for places caused by the new signings of Torres and Voronin.
Crouch, last season’s top scorer with 18 goals, said yesterday
“When you see other forwards leaving, I wouldn’t say it’s a case of ‘Yeah, one’s leaving, that’s good for me’, because you know they’re going to be replaced,…At the start of last year we brought in (Dirk) Kuyt and Bellamy and you ask yourself ‘How are you going to feature?’ and it’s the same again. I seem to have done it last year and, hopefully, I’ll be the same again with Torres and Voronin coming in.”
Dirk Kuyt is equally bullish about the new competition saying the other week.
“I am not worried about my place.. It is important to get players to make the team better and the competition in Liverpool is now stronger than ever. I think it was a good thing to bring in a few new players.”
Both strikers have no reasons to be complacent about their places in the team. They have their weaknesses and strengths which are enough for a piece in it’s own right. Suffice to say that although I believe Benitez’s choice to ship Bellamy out was the right one, on footballing grounds and for other reasons, but it wouldn’t have been a jaw dropping moment if Kuyt or Crouch had moved on instead.
Presumably Torres will start most games and Benitez will be looking closely at Crouch and Kuyt to see who links up with him most successfully? Also one cannot rule out Voronin, though to my mind he would be forth in the pecking order at this stage. Nonetheless, despite knowing what his best line up is, Benitez likes to confound and surprise. He will rotate the team. He has already stated that he would prefer to have two or three strikers getting 15-20 goals each rather than just one racking up stacks. This suggests that the strikers will chopped and changed and that everyone can expect to find themselves on the bench at sometime or another.
A fair policy as long as the players understand and accept it and that is Benitez biggest task, keeping his players happy. Whether Crouch’s and Kuyt’s utterings of “bring it on” will end being repeated through gritted teeth remains to be seen.
Meanwhile Gabriel Heinz moved a step closer to becoming the first player to be directly transferred between us and The Mancs since Bill Chisnall in 1964…. yes, before my time too!
Fergie has confirmed that Heinze wants to leave Old Trafford. Moreover if he wants to move to us it looks like the Mancs will be powerless to stop him. This is because of an agreement that gives the Argentinean permission to move to any club willing to pay £6m for his services. United agreed to this on the assumption that, if he did move, it would be abroad rather than 40 miles down the road.
The Daily Mirror says…
“Heinze’s deal would no doubt cause controversy, with United fans already protesting that it simply should not be allowed to happen with a player who has become a favourite of the last three years”
Purely on this basis I think Benitez, who is set to make a bid very soon, should make every effort to sign him!!!
What are the chances of him coming? Oh about as remote as Harry Kewell scoring for Australia to put them through to the knockout stages of the Asia Cup! What’s that you say…..? Really!