LITTLE was known about our Moroccan winger, Oussama Assaidi, when he was signed not long before the previous transfer-window closed in August. So, many of us went straight to YouTube to find out whether we’d signed a bargain or whether he was cheap bench-warmer.
Sadly, so far, he seems to have been the latter but that’s unfair to the player and manager really, as the circumstances at the club haven’t exactly gone in his favour up to now. Chance has meant that both Suso and Raheem Sterling have stepped in when asked and earned themselves their first-team places and now Assaidi is fully-fit, he’s having to make do with a place in the side during Europa league and (as we’ll probably see on Wednesday) the Capital One Cup.
Starting in such games in the early stages of these competitions is traditionally left to the fringe players, with last Thursday perhaps being an exception. But from what we’ve seen of Assaidi so far, he appears to be a very handy wide-man.
It’s always hard to tell from such rare glimpses what you’ve bought but the little we’ve seen from Assaidi so far shows a player with a great turn of pace, tricky feet, an intelligent footballing brain and the desire to turn any situation into an attack for his side.
What we’ve yet to really see from the Moroccan trickster is any real end product. As with most of our wide-players though, it would be unfair to put that all entirely on the shoulders of Assaidi, as the profligacy of our forward players has only let him down. But I fully believe that Assaidi has it in him to take things up a notch once he’s properly bedded in at the club. He doesn’t lack confidence and he’s still only 24, so he hasn’t yet hit his peak either.
After his superb performance against Anzhi on Thursday, many people named him as their man of the match and it would be hard to disagree. If things were to go the way I wanted them to, then I would have found room for him to start in the derby but, alas, he was dropped to the bench once more. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, though, as he’s exactly the sort of player fans love to see come in from the bench to spice games up a bit late on, when the opponents are starting to tire.
The real question is, though, is will Oussama Assaidi go on to become a first-choice for Liverpool or is he destined to be one of those players that is used to fill out the squad with a little bit of quality and basically find himself being used as an impact substitution? It’s a tough call really, and he may have to wait some time for his big opportunity, given the form of Suso and Sterling. However, if he continues to put in the sort of performances he did on Thursday, I see no reason to not reward him with a run in the first-team before Christmas.
What do you think; does Assaidi have it in him to become a first-team regular? Or is he destined to sit on the Reds’ bench?