138 Appearances (as of 4/7/2009)
Signed from Feyenoord in 2006 for 9 mil
BACKGROUND BEFORE LFC
Dirk Kuyt was a goal machine for Feyenoord, and earlier Utecht in the Dutch Eridivisie before joining the Reds in the summer of 2006. In the 2002-2003 season in Holland, he scored 20 goals in the league for Utecht, catching the attention of Feyenoord, who were the lucky ones to snap him up. Those next three seasons with Feyenoord were even more spectacular with Kuyt scoring 83 goals! The Dutch league may not be the best, but that’s still quite the achievement. It was only a matter of time before someone in a bigger league was going to get this guy…
SIGNING FOR, AND SETTLING INTO, LFC
The signing of Dirk Kuyt in the summer of 2006 was one of those annoyingly long transfer sagas that took the soul out of the summer. We were all excited to see him in action, but come on… just get him to the club, please! No wonder Rick Parry is leaving the club. Transfers like this one… yikes. Anyhow! Dirk Kuyt immediately made an impression once he finally arrived, though the goals didn’t flow in like we all expected. Instead, he was a total workhorse, and was full of energy and enthusiasm. It was just what Liverpool needed, and he had a pretty decent first season at the club. Scoring the consolation goal in the Champions League Final against AC Milan was probably the highlight, and Kuyt was making a name for himself as a big game player.
STYLE OF PLAY
WORKHORSE. WORK RATE. WORK ETHIC. Any phrase with the word “work” in it would probably suffice. Dirk Kuyt is one of those rare players who isn’t actually very good at anything, just GOOD at everything. He is good defensively, is a good passer of the ball, has good positioning sense, is “good” at finishing (at times) and is good at keeping possession. He works tirelessly down the right side of midfield, despite being a striker before joining the club, and is not one to put balls into the box. He’s more of a “cut into the spaces” and “find you in space” type of player. Kind of like Benayoun, but without the frills. Oh… and he scores really important goals against great teams. Not a bad asset to have, eh?
There are many. Kuyt’s best moments are not goal-flurries, though. Instead they are late, late winners against very impressive opposition. Kuyt has been involved with many Champions League moments over the past three seasons. His winner against Standard Liege, the first against Inter Milan, the hopeful header against AC Milan in the final, the winning penalty against Chelsea to get us to that final, etc. In the league, his double penalty against Everton, late stoppage time winners against Wigan and Manchester City in 2008-2009, and a host of others have him known as a “Last Minute Larry” type of player. Kuyt doesn’t just play to win… he plays for the fairy tales!
Kuyt hasn’t always had it good at Liverpool, particularly in the 2007-2008 season when it became clear that he wasn’t a very good striker for us. Rafa dropped him and put him on the right, as Kuyt scored a mere 3 goals in the league and was largely ineffective in most matches. A renaissance in 2008-2009, though (largely thanks to Arbeloa’s increase in form, I think), gave Kuyt an escape from misery.
2008-2009 SEASON VERDICT
Dirk Kuyt has been awesome in 2008-2009, scoring over 10 goals already and usually at the death in important games. It isn’t just the goals, though. He is providing others around him with fantastic opportunities to score, and his work on the defensive end allows for Gerrard and Torres to express themselves. As a result, we are playing winning football! Not to mention that he probably saved us 20 mil or so by getting that goal against Liege!!!
LFC CAREER VERDICT
It is tough to say. Kuyt’s been a big game player for us, but so often fails to produce. The intangibles are never in doubt, though, and I think that we as supporters far too often forget the importance of these types of players. Carra, for instance, was one of these before being moved to central defense. So I say we give him the benefit of the doubt and realize how important his goals have been and what a wonderful team player he is. GET IN THERE, KUYT!