The news that Yossi Benayoun, via Israeli TV, has decided to publicly voice his frustration at his lack of first team opportunity is as disappointing as it is understandable.
Benyayoun has played in about dozen or so games this season but has only started four of them. He ain’t happy about it. One has sympathy for Benayoun. Every player wants to play in the first team. Clearly it is frustrating sitting on the bench or in the stands whilst others are favoured in front of you. Had Benayoun simply stated this then no doubt many would have sympathised however, to add the following is crossing the line.
“I always wanted to prove myself good enough for Liverpool, and I thought I did well last season to contribute so many goals and assists. But there seems to be more competition for places this time, and if I continue to be on the sidelines, I would not want to stay, even though it is Liverpool.”
So that’s it then, Rafa’s been told. He better pick him!
Sadly complaints of this type are becoming a habit from the Benayoun camp. After playing only 59 minutes in three games at the start of the 2007-08 season we got this from his agent, again speaking on Israeli TV.
“When we first met with Rafa Benítez, he asked for a lot of patience since there is a huge squad at Liverpool. We don’t analyse each match. Yossi has patience and motivation and he will get his chance. When you are taking a decision to move to Liverpool, you are prepared for all possibilities and Yossi decided to follow his heart. The target was to try and integrate in the team and I’m sure he will play a lot. Naturally, Yossi wants to be in the squad and knows he has a lot of work to do but if he won’t play for a long period we will think again.”
Clearly Rafa has made progress in this area as well as on the pitch. It took until eleven games had been played this season as opposed to three the one before the disquiet was aired!
Quite what Benayoun or his agent hopes to achieve with a repeat of this silly, naive, little stunt is beyond me. Rafa is hardly likely to pick him ahead of say Alonso, Mascherano, Gerrard or Riera because of this outburst, particularly when we are doing so well? As ever the onus is on Benayoun to play better and make it impossible for Rafa to drop him. That is the only way he will find himself in the starting line up and although he played well in fits in starts last season, his performances hardly elevated him to the ranks of squad “indispensables”, if such a group exists at all.
Further more, Benayoun should know by now that Rafa is his own man, His outburst is hardly going to make him more inclined to pick him in fact, given his boss’s penchant for bouts of bloody mindedness, it is more likely to have the opposite effect!
As Peter Crouch found out at last season and the likes of Pennant and Benayoun are experiencing now, competition for places at Anfield is fierce, particularly when you have someone such as Rafa in charge. If Benayoun thinks he will be able to elevate individual circumstances above the overall needs of the club by holding it to ransom in this way he will be sadly mistaken and could, with money tight and January around the corner, find himself out of the L4 door much quicker than he anticipated?
August 2007 Yossi’s man gets bossy