22 January 2007

On Stephen Warnock

It’s with sadness that Liverpool sees Stephen Warnock on to Blackburn. His transfer was a long time coming, and honestly, was a piece of business Liverpool was always going to do, but Warnock will still be missed.

The boy simply oozed passion for the club, and not only because he was a local lad. It was the way he always played; you couldn’t ask for a better attitude. He came back from two broken legs and a number of loan spells, and never gave up the belief he could and would make it in Liverpool’s first team. Like many others who have now left the club, he also played his part in the Champions League run in 04-05.

As it stands, Warnock won’t be a first team regular for Liverpool. A number of interviews with current players see them name Warnock as one of the hardest tacklers in the team, which isn’t surprising given his attitude, but his positional sense has never matched his desire. Riise and Aurelio are both ahead of Warnock on the depth chart and look to remain there. They offer more options in the position, and both are better suited for the game Benitez plays.

This move should be exactly what Warnock needs. He’s a Premiership-level defender, and has been capped as a full English international; there was never a chance he’d end up back at Coventry or in a similar situation. He’s still fairly young at 25, and will get the playing time necessary to improve his game. And in Mark Hughes he’ll have a tough-nosed manager who’ll match his passion.

Below, Warnock’s only goal for Liverpool, is a perfect example of how much the lad wanted to do well for the club. Just look at the ecstasy in his celebration despite the fact it’s a late goal in a game long won.

Good luck, Stevie.

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