Having only scored five goals in the league and two in the Champions League, you might not think that letting Robbie Keane re-sign for Tottenham would be a particularly bad decision for Liverpool.
But the Anfield staff and board should ask themselves this: what happens if Fernando Torres gets injured again? Would Dirk Kuyt or David Ngog really be good enough up front? And if Kuyt was chosen to play in Torres’ position, who would fill his place on the right-hand side of midfield?
Liverpool may be picking up a healthy sum of money for Keane, and letting go a player who has never really hit the heights for them on the pitch, but the fact of the matter is that, if Torres picks up another lengthy injury, Liverpool’s season will be over.
If Keane stayed at the club, he would be able to play up-front on his own if that situation came around again. Although playing the lone striker is not the Irishman’s favourite position, he did the job well enough earlier this season when Torres was indeed injured.
Liverpool won against Chelsea away with Keane in that position, and the club’s overall title push did not suffer too much while the strike force was in that predicament.
Yes, during that time Liverpool should have beaten the likes of Stoke, Fulham and West Ham at Anfield when they only drew, and of course Torres would have provided an extra spark in those matches, but for someone who does not like playing up-front alone, Keane performed pretty well in the position.
I was at Anfield on Boxing Day when Keane fired a double against Bolton Wanderers when Liverpool won 3-0, and in that match he showed how well he can perform when plays up-front with a partner as well – in that case it was Dirk Kuyt in a 4-4-2 formation.
Everybody knows that Keane has been struggling in front of goal for a lot of this season, but Benitez’s decisions have hardly helped him. When Keane scored a brilliant goal against Arsenal at the Emirates just before Christmas, and then followed it up with another two against Bolton at Anfield on Boxing Day, Benitez dropped him for the next game at Newcastle. A great lot of good that would have done for his confidence.
Keane is a player who thrives on confidence and sharpness, so to be in and out of the team really set him back.
I am in no way saying that Keane has played well for Liverpool for the majority of the time, but just that he showed glimpses of what a good player he is when he started to gain confidence and score goals.
So if Torres picks up another length injury, which is not too unlikely after he has pulled his hamstring three times already this season, there will be no Keane to fill his place and do a professional job, and hold the ball up for the likes of Gerrard and Riera.
Benitez and his staff will regret the transfer then, and how horrible it would be for Liverpool if Keane ruined their hopes for the title on the last day of the season at Anfield. That’s a date for your diaries.