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Left midfield is probably the weakest position of them all, with two players who appeared in the last poll. But that should make this close. I wrote the thing, and I still don’t know who to vote for. We all know that the flanks haven’t been a strong point over the last decade, and that’s a big part of the reason for the shift to 4-2-3-1.
FYI: Benayoun appears here because Kuyt's currently winning the RM poll by almost 10 votes, and that probably won't change. This list would have included Riise had he not won the poll for left back. I could have put Aurelio here based on some recent matches, but it hasn’t led to many memorable results (memorable in a good way, at least).
Yossi Benayoun (2007-present)
I’ve often argued Yossi’s best on the right or in the hole, but because of Gerrard and Kuyt, he’s started on the left most often during his Liverpool career. Last season it was often out of necessity, but by the end of the campaign and throughout this year, Benayoun’s rightfully beaten out Riera for the place.
Patrik Berger (1996-2003)
The other natural winger on the list along with Riera, with a stellar left foot, but only 75 of his appearances (and nine of his goals) came during this decade. He had a good first year, but then struggled until Houllier took over, when he began playing behind the strikers more often. 1999-2000 saw his last strong season in a Liverpool shirt before a November 2000 knee injury, which was the first in a long line of problems that hampered the rest of his Liverpool career, finally sold to Pompey prior to Houllier’s last season.
Luis Garcia (2004-2007)
Left-footed, Garcia was just as liable to play on the left as he was a second striker or right-winger, and like others in this poll and the last, more known for versatility than a predominant position. I’d again like to reiterate his knack for key goals, scoring in every knockout round before the Istanbul final, and his trickery and guile, which Liverpool undoubtedly lacked at the time. And I’d like to forget his inconsistency and when the tricks didn’t come off.
Harry Kewell (2003-2008)
I’m often of two minds about Kewell, both while he was at Liverpool and after the fact. I’ve become convinced Babel is the new Kewell; on paper, he seemed just the player Liverpool needed, but, of course, the game isn’t played on paper. We rarely saw the form that made him an absolute star at Leeds – probably only during his first season and the second half of ’05-06 – and like with Berger and Garcia, we’ve injuries to thank. He’ll probably best be remembered for being substituted in three finals in two seasons, an auspicious record to say the least.
Albert Riera (2008-present)
Boy, it felt like we won the lottery after Riera’s debut against the Mancs. His first start and Liverpool beat United in the league for the first time since Houllier was in charge, with Riera forcing Wes Brown into an equalizing own goal. He was a different option, a natural winger who hugged the touchline, combined with the fullback, and drove to the byline. Scored a couple of superlative belters too. But, as happened during his tenure with City and Espanyol, Riera was inconsistent far too often, and combined with a recent injury, it’s allowed Benayoun to claim the position.