View from the Kop

He is a player who deserves a lot more recognition


After a 3-1 victory over Manchester United, Liverpool have reminded people that they are a top side. They have confirmed that they are still a force in the Premier League and while they might be resigned to finish 5th this season, they will surely be a threat for the top 4 next year. The game on Sunday was won by a Dirk Kuyt hat-trick and as I read the papers yesterday I was constantly reminded of the ‘un-sung hero’ of Anfield. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Dirk Kuyt, but I want to make it clear that he is not an ‘un-sung’ hero.

Kuyt did a great job on Sunday, and I don’t think he has suddenly become a better player; he was simply used in a system that better suited him. This does not make him an unsung hero; he has not been undervalued for the last 2 years, in fact I think his praises get sung quite often. People use this label unnecessarily.

You might not hear mention of his express pace, silky dribbling skills and Beckham-esque crosses, but that does not make him an ‘unsung hero’. An unsung hero is someone who puts in effort that is not recognised. I personally don’t think people have ignored Kuyt’s efforts and furthermore, I don’t think he has done enough to warrant praise that he has not received. This label makes him sound worse than he is.

On the other hand, the departure of the ‘sung’ hero, Fernando Torres, has allowed Dalglish to get more out of Dirk Kuyt. We have all seen how Meireles has benefitted from being given a more advanced role, now we are seeing how Dalglish has got the best out of Kuyt.

The reason he got moved out onto the right wing is because of the introduction of Torres. I would never argue that Kuyt is as good a player as Torres, but he did suffer from the way Torres played. Torres thrived from playing as a lone target man (this has been clarified since his move to Chelsea) and Benitez played in a way that suited Torres, with one man up top.


So Kuyt had to play on the right, where (I have often heard it mentioned), he is effective. He is useful due to his teamwork and can supply a fairly good ball, he also shows incredible determination and work rate. I would not say his crossing is as good as the likes of Giggs, or even David Bentley, but it is adequate, and he does get a lot of assists.

On the other hand, he lacks the individual spark to be a flamboyant winger. He hardly ever beats a man and will not create something out of nothing. So he might not set the world on fire but he does a good job. And don’t forget his work-rate. He does well considering he is a striker who is asked to play as a right winger, but this has been duly noted.

What his hat-trick showed however, is that to get the most out of a player like Kuyt, you need to play 4-4-2. His industrious style makes him an ideal poacher. He will never be the best at dribbling past a defender and will never be great at picking out a pin-point through ball, but he will work as hard as anyone to find space and get on the end of passes. This is exactly what he did on Sunday. He did not change the way he played, he just did it further up the pitch and nearer the goal.

Playing alongside the new Uruguayan signing, who has the flair and skill to create chances in the box, Kuyt managed to pick up the scraps. He bagged two goals after moments of brilliance from Suarez and a third from a defensive mistake. It seems this is the role Kuyt should have been playing all along. What Sunday showed is that he is not a useless striker; he is just a bad lone-striker.

Whereas before Kuyt would find himself with space on the right of the pitch and had to try and pass or dribble, on Sunday he just kicked the ball in the goal. His work rate makes him perfect for this, and he has the off-the-ball ability to be a good poacher, in a 4-4-2 system.

Rather than labelling this performance as the moment an unsung hero proved his critics wrong, I would see it as a heroic performance from a good player, who finally got to play in the position and system that best suited him. Well done Kenny Dalglish, well done Dirk Kuyt.

The article was written by Joe Austin for FootballFancast.com. Make sure to check out the latest news, blogs and podcasts at FFC – ed.

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  • Henry Jay says:

    he’s a hard worker but has more bad games than good, I hate seeing him out the right, far too slow for a winger, is a great player to have in the squad but Liverpool will never win the league if kuyt is a first team player

    • Jay Wright says:

      totally agreed with your sentiment Henry – everybody sets such low standards for players like Kuyt and then wonders why we aren’t winning anything. It doesn’t make any sense at all

      The reason that Kuyt was moved out to the wing was because he flopped as a striker (ONE goal from open play throughout an entire league campaign).

      Btw, for anybody lauding his performance in the CL final against Milan just because he scored a consolation goal once the game was already over, watch the game again, count how many times our striker enters the box from open play in a game that we dominated and then attempt to convince yourself that he had a good game still…

  • Kenny says:

    He is an okay player but in many games he should be used as an impact sub coming on with 30 minutes to go.

  • magnumopus says:

    Good article and we should note that the Dutch national team play him as right winger also. Seems like the value of his work rate is noticed nationally but not by some bloggers in Liverpool.

  • Karim says:

    Totally agree with the author. stick Kuyt up front and let him fight and feed off Carroll / Suarez, its definitely a winning combination.

    He has played at the peak of his career (27-30) on the right hand side and thats a sacrifice he has made to LFC, which just goes to show how much he loves being here.

    A lot of other players would have asked for a transfer request but no Kuyt has stuck with us and is getting his rewards. Fingers crossed he can finish the season on a high!!

    Haha i love the bit about Torres!!! Chelsea are a lot more greedy going forward than liverpool were. If liverpool had an attack the centrepiece would be Torres. Whereas at Chelsea, they all decide to have a go. In their last game, the amount of times i saw Torres free and his so called mates would have a pop at goal rather than playing him the ball… Torres will leave in 18 months, he cant play for a team where he isnt the main man (Lfc and Athletico).

    Wrong move for a great player.

    • Jay Wright says:

      Hardly any regular starters have ever asked for a transfer from Liverpool, so I don’t know where you’re getting all this sacrifice nonsense from

      If Kuyt had had to sit on the bench where he deserved to be, he would’ve started b*tching a long time ago, just like he did when he was benched for a few games for his country!

  • Livmad says:

    Torres? Who’s he…

  • stanley says:

    4-4-2 works perfectly when playing kuyt as a striker…
    johnson shud be played in the right wing for pace and width and kuyt shud be used as a backup striker for suarez and carroll..

  • Jay Wright says:

    Deserves MORE recognition!? Everybody acts as if he is one of our most important players and he starts EVERY game for us, regardless of how poor his performances are, and he is widely lauded for every game in which he scores as those ‘important games’ are far more indicative of his performances than the preceding poor performances that he consistently puts in – how much more recognition can the guy ask for??

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