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Genius :(

I guess that is a summary, but Rafa inexplicably doesn't always follow that. For some reason he desperately tries to get players like Barry. Voronin. And I've never thought Keane was a good buy (bought for almost the same price as Torres), nor Benayoun or Kuyt (despite his current good form).

Babel, Riera, Skrtel and Torres have been his best recent transfers imo.

Ngog I haven't yet seen enough of.

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Why don't you play Kuyt and Keane up front?

Exactly. Kuyt as the man furthest forward, Keane in behind. I suppose Babel could play from the right and it's a waste of his talent but I suppose it gets him out onto the pitch.

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I guess that is a summary, but Rafa inexplicably doesn't always follow that. For some reason he desperately tries to get players like Barry. Voronin. And I've never thought Keane was a good buy (bought for almost the same price as Torres), nor Benayoun or Kuyt (despite his current good form).

Babel, Riera, Skrtel and Torres have been his best recent transfers imo.

Ngog I haven't yet seen enough of.

I'm not entirely sure why Benitez thought we desperately needed Barry but there's absolutely no doubt the bloke is a quality footballer. The outcome of the whole summer transfer saga has lead to Alonso being back to his best so I'll not complain.

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Exactly. Kuyt as the man furthest forward, Keane in behind. I suppose Babel could play from the right and it's a waste of his talent but I suppose it gets him out onto the pitch.

I'd like to see Keane play behind Babel with Kuyt on the right at some point. I'm not convinced Babel can play with his back to goal and I think he may lack the intelligence required to play upfront on his own but he deserves a chance. I'd certainly rather see that given a go than have to endure Yossi playing from the right again.

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They have done on a few occasions this season, including the West Ham game.

Both of whom where not helped by a rare ineffective performance by Riera and Benayoun contributing little as usual. Sky had a story about Adam Hammill returning in January. I really hope this is true and he gets the possibly departing Benayoun's bench place.

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For Barry and Keane I think he wanted to buy some proven Premiership players that could slot right in rather than take a season to adapt like a foreign import might. That hasn't exactly worked out with Keane, but I don't think many people would have predicted how much he's struggled. And with Barry there was always the threat of the UEFA international players limit thingy a lot of managers have decided its best to prepare than it let it sting them by seeing it announced and suddenly having to buy loads of nationals. Also he's working to a budget. I doubt he rated Keane as the best striker on the market any more than you or I, but then he doesn't have the money of Man U or Chelsea. Worth bearing in mind.

Torres was also a bit of a bargain in hindsight. He's become a much more complete player under Benitez despite the fact no one in the media seems to want to give him any credit for turning a 15 goal a season striker in La Liga to a 25 goal one in the Premiership in one season... I wouldn't use him as any kind of barometer for kind of quality you should expect for that money generally.

And where's the love for Agger, Arbeola, Mascherano and Reina? Amazing players.

Why do I always have to come in here defending Benitez? I might be biased towards Spanish football, but you're gerrardcementinghisplaceasnumberten.gif. Enjoy it :(

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I'd like to see Keane play behind Babel with Kuyt on the right at some point. I'm not convinced Babel can play with his back to goal and I think he may lack the intelligence required to play upfront on his own but he deserves a chance. I'd certainly rather see that given a go than have to endure Yossi playing from the right again.

Totally and completely 100% agree. With Torres continued absence there's no harm in looking at the above set up.

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I really don't think Benayoun plays enough. I always wondered last season why him and Babel were never on the pitch at the same time. When you're a top four team, teams will try to be a compact as possible, and you need some pace and width to break them down. Playing narrow and cautious against narrow and cautious teams of a lesser ability is crazy.

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