Blood Red: Liverpool FC?s Ryan Babel needs to repay faith Rafael Benitez has shown in him
12 September 2009 06:00
THE fly on the wall in Rafa Benitez's office at Melwood on Thursday will certainly have a story to tell.
Ryan Babel had some serious explaining to do following his return from international duty.
The Dutchman's outburst while he was away with his national side was as ill advised as it was nonsensical.
Benitez has shown remarkable faith in a player who has repeatedly flattered to deceive since he arrived on Merseyside for £11.5million from Ajax two years ago.
His first season offered real promise with 10 goals in 49 appearances - including memorable Champions League strikes against Arsenal and Chelsea.
But last season he failed to kick on and made only 13 starts with a further 29 outings off the bench.
The temptation to offload the 22-year-old this summer must have been great, especially as the manager needed to raise funds to make signings.
But Benitez decided to persevere with him and made a point on the tour of the Far East of taking every possible opportunity to talk up the winger.
The Reds boss believed this would finally be the season when Babel came good and realise his obvious potential. Instead it's been a case of more of the same.