As news filters through of Ryan Babel’s (sorry, @RyanBabel) transfer to Hoffenheim; I wanted to reflect on his time with Liverpool, and why I think the move is best for all involved.
Babel joined Liverpool in the summer of 2007; following some impressive performances during the European Under-21 Championships, including a goal and MOM award in the final.
His was a transfer that promised to be a colossal romance, but has ended in a loveless marriage, and subsequent divorce.
When people refer to Ryan having ‘bags of ability’ – I can’t help but agree. He is tall, athletic, quick, powerful and instinctively direct.
There are hundreds sports psychology equations to quantify performance, the following two seem to be truest in Ryan’s case:
- Performance = Ability x Motivation
- Performance = Ability – Interference
But which is it? There is an equally valid argument for both to be true, and neither is necessarily mutually exclusive. But I am convinced that the lack of motivation; perhaps down to Benitez’ approach to man-management, or lack of self-motivation, combined with the interferences; making rap tracks with Royston Drenthe and the string of Twitter-gaffs, have resulted in 3 ½ very average seasons with Liverpool.
The prevention or hindering of a potentially satisfying activity.
As a supporter, this sums up Ryan’s time at Liverpool perfectly; where the ‘satisfying activity’ is a Liverpool player putting in a great performance, and the ‘prevention’ his complete lack of regular application.
Maybe I am being a little cruel, but I think it speaks volumes when his most memorable moment as a Liverpool player is coming on and scoring a goal in a game we drew (Lyon away 2009). I am not completely discounting his winning goal against United in 2008, but when people lament Babel’s inconsistency, the former is more often the example they refer to.
It’s ironic that Babel’s departure has occurred with a typically unpredictable performance from the man; medical in Germany, wants to go to Holland, yet his ‘best mate’ broadcasting he was on a flight to Italy.
As I write this, Hoffenheim occupy 8th spot in Bundesliga and are a club on the up. Following major investment in 2006 they have risen from the fourth tier of German football, and are Germany’s answer to Gretna! Babel is likely to be a star in their ranks, which I have no doubt will suit him and enable him to flourish. Unfortunately, this was not a luxury he could be afforded at Liverpool.
Despite my less than complimentary reference, I do genuinely wish him all the best, as will most Liverpool fans. And for his future employers, I just hope he puts more effort in on the pitch, than in the studio!
By Kevin Coogan – Liverpool fan