14 December 2009

Team of the Decade – Left Midfield

Previous Posts: Formation | Keeper | Right Back | Centerback | Left Back | Central Midfield | Right Midfield

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)
Appearances: 112
Goals: 26

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)
Appearances: 196
Goals: 35

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)
Appearances: 121
Goals: 30

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)
Appearances: 139
Goals: 16

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)
Appearances: 51
Goals: 5

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.


Mike Georger said...

I voted for Yossi before, gotta vote for Luis now. Though if we end up with Yossi at both positions, what happens?

nate said...

If Benayoun wins both, I'll pick the next highest vote-getter for the other flank. But we've averaged about the same number of votes on each poll, and we're pretty much there on right mid, so I don't think Yossi's coming back in the RM vote.

muffins said...

Benayoun. I picked Garcia in the last one, although I think doing the reverse (Benayoun at RM, Garcia at LM) would do the trick.

Mike Georger said...

I'm going to be heartbroken that Luis doesn't get a spot. Heartbroken I say!

Nate did you see the official site has started their team of the decade stuff?

nate said...

Lfc.tv's scraping the bottom of the barrel if they're stealing ideas from me.

Seriously, though, I thought they might run a similar poll, which is why I wanted to start it first. Turns out it's the exact same thing, which almost the exact same participants. Sigh.

I haven't really been keeping up with the official site's results though, mainly because i detest the site's redesign, and have subsequently been visiting far less frequently.

Also, as of now, Garcia's in place for a spot on the bench based on right midfield votes alone. I've decided I'm just going to pick the six highest vote-getters that didn't win along with Dudek (there has to be a keeper on the bench!).

Anonymous said...

I voted for Yossi

Starting11 said...

Great stuff as always man. http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2009/12/starting-eleven-football-blog-roundup.html
Gotta go with Benayoun.

Manton said...

It only took reading "Left Midfield" before I quickly voted for little Luis. I think I'm still mourning his loss (especially in video games)

Bilal said...

dudes and dudettes, as much as i'm thankful for yossi's (both relative, and lets give credit, absolute) flair this season, i'm suprised that little luis isn't leading the poll. The fustrating inconsistancies with Garcia are similar to Yossi's fading out of games, esp. the ones he starts bit when Garcia was on fire, he really on fire, plus he was simply one of the most likable players in the last decade, aaaaaand, he also sparked the letter writing to fans when he left, mimicked i think by Sissoko and Riise.

So, I rest my case, Luis was a little bit of magic, sadly missed too. If you haven't voted, vote for the little hairband wearing annoyingly inconsistant genius.