So, Alberto Aquilani’s father has revealed his son is “frustrated” at not being chosen to play since recovering from the ankle injury he had when he joined the club.
The £18m Italian midfielder, signed as a direct replacement for Xabi Alonso, has been an unused sub for the Reds’ recent matches, including the 0-0 draw at Blackburn on Saturday – much to the fans’ frustration too.
Manager Rafa Benitez clearly sees it as a “risk” to play Aquilani in any situation where his confidence may be affected but clearly his confidence isn’t exactly building by sitting warming the bench for 90 minutes. Then rub salt into the wounds by bringing on Nabil El Zhar, who has been back in training less time than Aquilani after suffering an injury in pre-season. Fair enough Aquilani isn’t a winger but god forbid Rafa may actually make a change which isn’t like-for-like and actually change the game. If I were Blackburn’s full-back I know who I’d rather see come on to replace Benayoun.
When Aquilani was signed, Rafa said this “He can play as second striker if necessary, but his best position will be between Gerrard and Mascherano – or between Lucas and Gerrard.” So, now he’s fit, Rafa won’t play him in his position as “With Gerrard, Lucas and Mascherano we now have balance in the midfield.” Work that one out. I’ve seen more creativity in a 3 year old’s crayon than I have our midfield in recent weeks. Balance is great but at the moment it’s unimaginative and flat, hence why we can’t score against the likes of Blackburn.
The good news is Aquilani himself seems to have settled on Merseyside; “He is really happy in Liverpool, he has settled in really well,” said his father.
“He’s getting to grips with the language and he’s always surrounded by friends, family and his fiancée. He likes the city a lot, the culture, the football and the atmosphere at the stadiums. He has been really impressed by the bond the crowd have with the players.
“He has had plenty of time to watch the Premier League, to study how the game is played in England and how it is different from Serie A. In England it is more physical, more frenetic, quicker, and you have less time on the ball. He is confident he can adapt, though.”
A full debut against Fiorentina, a team Aquilani has played against numerous times in Serie A is the perfect opportunity for him to convince Rafa he can be trusted against the might of teams like Blackburn, let’s hope he takes it and we get to see some creativity in our midfield at long last.