Just when Rafa thought it couldn't get any worse, here comes another Benitez

07 November 2009 12:38
His name is Benitez. He speaks Spanish. And, in one of those twists of football fate, he could be about to haunt his namesake Rafa.

Birmingham's Ecuadorian striker is better know as 'Chucho' or 'Annoying Little Terrier' but Christian Benitez is starting to show the form that could trouble the Liverpool boss on Monday.

Although he has yet to register a goal in the top flight, Benitez has shown glimpses of the skill that has convinced Alex McLeish he has 'a real player' on his hands.

For supporters who have seen true quality infrequently Christophe Dugarry and Trevor Francis aside they know the prerequisite for anyone who dons the royal blue is at least to run around energetically.

Star potential: The other Benitez could worry Rafa

Manager McLeish has been pleasantly surprised: 'He's not a stereotypical South American, all flair and less substance,' he said. 'You only need to see his ProZone figures. They are very high. In terms of the strikers I've got, he's definitely the highest.Cameron Jerome has power and speed and will use up more energy. But Christian is tenacious.

'He can be equally explosive. Defences in the Premier League have been given problems by the pair's the power and speed. We're definitely a better team than we were two years ago with this input.'

Benitez's father, Erman, played for his country and pushed his son to leave the South American country to make a name for himself. So far though, it has not been easy.

His wife, Liseth, gave birth to twins within a month of his move. Then his dad was involved in a serious car accident. Travelling halfway across the world every fortnight for international duty has not made it a comfortable passage, either.

And his driving skills are pretty non-existent, too.

'He was hopeless,' said skipper Stephen Carr at a recent team-bonding session in twin go-karts. 'Let's just say he desperately needs lessons.'

Jerome believes it's just a matter of time before his strike partner scores that elusive first goal. He said: 'It's his first season in English football and his time will come. He needs to settle in and then we will see what we really have.

'Give him a couple more months to get used to it, the environment and the language, and you will see what an asset he is to us. From what I've seen during games and training, he really has got it. He's a handful.'

Liverpool's Benitez will be hoping his namesake doesn't choose Monday night at Anfield to reveal his true goal-scoring potential.

Work rate: Jerome and Benitez form a combative front line


Source: Daily_Mail