Benitez impressed with improved Babel

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has hinted that Dutch winger Ryan Babel could have a big part to play in his plans this coming season after being impressed at his commitment to win a first team place.

It was thought that Babel could have been sold this summer to raise money for potential transfer targets, but Benitez says the 22-year-old is working really hard to keep his place at Anfield.

“We are really impressed with him this year because he came back after the summer really fit, he’s trying to do his best and it is very positive when you have a player with talent,” Benitez said.

“The first two years is always difficult in another country but I think if you have the right mentality like he has now, he will improve.”

Babel has played in both Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies so far this summer, the goalless draw at St. Gallen and the 1-0 defeat to Rapid Vienna. The Reds next play Thailand in Bangkok tomorrow.