Noun: 1. Cult Hero
2. Battery Powered
3. Adopted Scouser
4. Penalty Taker
5. Mr Reliable
6. Working Class Hero
Dirk Kuyt arrived at Anfield almost six years ago, just months after our last piece of silverware. The Dutchman came to Liverpool to win trophies and has finally got what his work-rate, commitment and passion has thoroughly deserved.
Dirk’s first season saw him score the consolation goal in Athens as the Reds lost a Champions League Final to an AC Milan side they should’ve beat. Had you told him then that he’d go another 5 years before reaching a final with Liverpool, he’d never have believed you.
The following season he scored seven goals en-route to the Champions League semi-final and in adding to his double against Everton from the spot in the derby, a cult hero was born. Rafa Benitez began to play him in an advanced right sided midfield role. Aafter some initial teething problems he successfully adapted to it and was a key part of the team that went just two defeats throughout the 08/09 season, often tucking in to harass defenders and provide the space for Fernando Torres to profit. Dirk chipped in with an impressive 15 goals of his own.
Dirk’s Key Penalties:
May 2007 – CL semi-final shootout vs Chelsea
Oct 2007 – Two penalties in the Merseyside derby win at Goodison
Jan 2011 – Another against the Blues, this time at home in a 2-2 draw
April 2011 – 102nd minute spot-kick to secure a draw at Arsenal
Feb 2012 – Carling Cup Final shoot-out vs Cardiff
The lack of silverware to his name certainly hasn’t been through lack of effort or work-rate. Nobody has covered more ground than Dirk over the last six years (not Opta verified!). He was again ‘the nearly man’ two years ago when he played a key part in the Dutch squad’s run to the World Cup Final.
There’s been many a term used to describe his loveable character, enthusiastic personality, admirable work-rate and unflappable penalty taking. Some of his interviews are as funny and as personable as any Liverpool player of recent time. As the song goes “He loves this City”.
When Dirk showed a change of pace not previously seen to open up the Cardiff defence and then hammer the ball past their keeper despite being half prone on his backside, you saw just how badly he wanted that trophy.
Dirk has had his Liverpool future brought into question in the latest transfer window and lost his place to Jordan Henderson at the start of this season, perhaps this spurred him on even more. “You can say the Carling Cup is not the most important trophy, but it is to me,” he said.
Despite being on the periphery of the squad, Dirk has had some key moments to play this season. Most notably his late winner in the FA Cup defeat of Man United, and then following that up with his 50th League goal against Wolves.
The man who once dressed as Superman for the Reds’ Christmas party has finally got the rewards for his superpowers!