C’mon Peter the Great

Peter Crouch has been in the wars recently but Barry Ellams hopes he rallies to Liverpool’s call to arms and helps the Redmen battle for honours this season.

SO PETER The Great only got to ten minutes to terrorise the Russians.

To be fair if Emile Heskey had put on more virtuoso performances up front for Liverpool Crouchie might still be earning his corn in Southampton.

It’s been a wretched time for the Liverpool striker who sat on the bench for 80 minutes as England dismantled Russia’s defence and Reds fans were given a trip down memory lane as Gerrard, Heskey and Owen spearheaded a venomous attack.

At 6 ft 7inch Crouchie is closer to the gods than most but they are not smiling on him.

First he is suspended from the Group E Euro qualifier against Israel then Graham ‘˜three yellows’ Poll tells the press that the striker was a marked man by FIFA referees during last year’s World Cup.

To top it all he incurs the wrath of Michelin Man Marco Pierre White on ITVs Hells Kitchen. The Liverpool striker looked bemused as the bandana wearing masterchef who looks like Lord Byron in Footloose lambasted him for chatting to his girlfriend Abigail Jones.
As a target man Crouchie knows how to take the knocks but it is Rafa’s recent team sheets that seems to have got under his skin. He’s not on them.

The Liverpool manager’s rotation policy has got the big man’s head in a spin. I put it down to a bout of altitude sickness or maybe a sense of injustice that the towering attacker is being overlooked.

It’s Rafa’s perogative to blood in his new players. Two seasons ago Crouchie was such a player. It’s also Peter’s right to clarify with his manager where he features in the big picture. The big man is no wallflower. It takes guts to knock on the boss’s door and say ‘˜what about me?’. Rafa well be delighted that Crouch recoils at being a winter bench warmer. What he doesn’t want in the midst of Pako’s sudden departure is a return to spice boy tantrums and contract negotiation being turned into a public relations chess game.

I think Crouchie is a great asset to our club and I want him to stay. I also want him to pledge his loyalty to Rafa and to help us win The Premiership title.

I know it’s frustrating for Peter when he is not picked. The season is a long rollercoaster of a slog and he will play a big part. The chances will come they always do – he only has to remember Wigan Athletic. Breaking the dominance of Man Utd and Chelsea is like cracking open a safe. No one is more qualified to break in and steal the loot than Rafa. He’s already getting the right combinations, picking the right numbers to finally unlock the vaults after 18 years. The results speak for themselves and we are right to be more hopeful that this season will be an historic one. With American owners, bigger stadium, new TV Channel, more world class players the club is thinking big and Rafa has told him privately, even publicly that he is part of the master plan. Rafa has always proved to be a man of his word. He is also very shrewd. He knows that Crouchie offers something alternative that Premiership teams don’t have.

If Torres and Voronin become goal scoring machines Crouch can help us pick the leaner defences and crack open the tougher nuts. If Kuyt and Torres are struggling against, say, a resilient Bolton, then bring Crouch on.

He may be the player that fans look back on and say ‘˜he was the difference’ It’s about getting the balance right, the chemistry correct. Rafa has to shake up the players to serve up the cocktail and Crouchie can be our B52.

crouchIn his first season the press got onto Crouchie’s back because he was misfiring. The fans of course supported him 100%. We knew the goals would come -and how they came! Over two years he has shown glimpses of technical genius against Everton, Man Utd, Galatasary and Arsenal.

When Crouchie moved to Liverpool from Southampton in 2005 Graham Taylor likened him to Czech Striker Jan Koller. Well it hasn’t quite worked out as Graham Taylor imagined – but the turnip was never a mystic meg when it came to football forecasts.
Kohl has elements of Heskey’s and Crouchies game but no defenders sweat more as they do over Peter – just ask John Terry. Heskey was always a confidence player and Peter has scored in big games.

His tallness is merely an attribute. It’s his industry that is colossal. He is so much more than an out and out striker. He is jack of all trades. An able defender of corners and not since the days of John Barnes have I seen such outrageous scissor kicks. So many times he is at the centre of the park like a traffic policeman, arms outstretched challenging for a header or nicking a pass to Gerrard or Riise. He can control the pace of a game – get into defensive positions and be pivotal in and on the receiving end of long sweeping counter attacks.

Crouchie runs his socks off but everyone talks about Dirk Kuyt’s work ethic. Crouchie has made his home here
and thanks to Marco Pierre White Crouchie can tuck into Steak a la WAG and chips. I just hope he simmers down and learns to stomach the fact that in the era of billionaire sugar daddies big squad’s win big trophies for I have a feeling the big man will play no small part in helping us win the Premiership.

Barry Ellams

Postnote: Please note the above article was written prior to Saturday’s match at Porsmouth but we were unable to get it online in time. Our apologies.