Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Benitez Still Hope On Robbie Keane

It's fair to say that Robbie Keane's stay on Merseyside hasn't lived up to expectations so far. After several years of buccaneering forward play and banging in goals at Tottenham Hotspur, the Dubliner arrived at Liverpool with a big reputation.

Liverpool's Benitez Believes Keane Can Improve

He hasn't yet lived up to it, and 'Pool manager Rafa Benitez admits that the player's mediocre form has come as something of a surprise.

"We know what kind of player Robbie Keane is. He needs people around him to pass the ball well," explained the Spaniard.

"I believe he will be OK, he will score more if we create chances for him. But if that does not happen we have to use players with different qualities to open up the game.

"Robbie gets disappointed when things are not going his way. He is a worker, but he can improve.

"It is a question of confidence. If we score first in this type of game then we will grow and win. Some players may be lacking in confidence, but if we keep creating chances we will be OK."

Keane struck a disconsolate figure last night as he trudged off the Anfield pitch having been substituted for French youngster David Ngog, and Benitez acknowledged the disappointment that the Irishman is feeling.

"Robbie, when he came off, was disappointed," added Benitez.

"But players always want to be out on the pitch for 90 minutes, but we were thinking of different solutions and Ngog did well when he came on, holding the ball up."

Depite trying to put on a positive spin on the game, Benitez knows that it was one his side should have won, and the fact that the draw allowed Manchester United to creep a little closer in the league table.

"It could have been three more points and top of the league," he said. "Clearly we are frustrated, but we are one point clear of Chelsea, and that is positive.

"Hopefully we will not be looking back at these three games, Stoke, Fulham and now West Ham, as points that would have counted. I hope we will look at the end of the season as this point being decisive."

For all the positives though, the manager's true disappointment is pretty clear. Dropping points in these kind of home games is not the hallmark of champions, and Benitez, deep down, knows this.

"But we have lost two points again," he went on to say. "We know that. But we were attacking and we were playing better than before, but we have to be disappointed."

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