Angry comments at the ready, dear readers! Sport.co.uk selects three Liverpool players who are highly thought of inside and/or outside of Anfield but whom we – or at least this writer – fail to see what all the fuss is about. Feel free to correct us in the comments section, Reds fans…or indeed Rafael Benitez…
Javier Mascherano – Before you start, yes, the Argentine midfielder is undoubtedly a good player. But £30m’s worth of player? That’s the price attached to reports of Barcelona’s interest in Mascherano but, without Xabi Alonso alongside him this season, Mascherano has not looked like the kind of star player that a fee like that should command. He offers next to nothing in an attacking sense, while his good defensive work is often marred by rash tackles and frustrated lashings out. Alonso’s departure demanded that Mascherano develop into something more than just a simple ball winner but he’s not yet shown that he can flourish without a suitable partner alongside. This of course can be said of many players but not of those who are truly out of the top bracket, which £30m links with Barcelona are generally indicative of. Perhaps Alberto Aquilani could be that partner.
Jamie Carragher – Again, overrated in this instance does not translate as ‘no good whatsoever’. Although he is now beginning to show his age, Carragher has been a fine one-club servant for Liverpool and goes down in history as the man who captained the Reds on so many momentous occasions. But we’re not talking about Bobby Moore here; Liverpool fans may “dream of a team of Carraghers” but they’d soon tire of eleven last-ditch defenders throwing themselves in front of the ball, screaming at each other and generally giving “110%”. A great defender but not a great footballer: fortunately for Carragher, that’s all he’s needed to be throughout his club career.
Glen Johnson – It’s been all too noticeable how much stronger Liverpool’s defence has been while the England right-back has been confined to the sidelines. That of course would be to completely disregard Johnson’s considerable attacking prowess but, while he is not exactly a disaster area, he is still not tight enough at the back to warrant the £18m that the Reds paid Portsmouth for his services. Johnson has the faint whiff of Newcastle United under Kevin Keegan about him and a club like Liverpool, who should be competing for every major honour going, should not be resorting to fashionable ‘Spice Boy’-style signings like this any more. Not at that price, anyway.
Do you agree with any of the above? Is there anyone else at Liverpool whom you consider overrated? Should the club continue to back Benitez at the end of the season? Do the likes of Lucas, Insua and Kuyt get a raw deal from critics?