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Dirk Kuyt’s banking on Ryal Babel as Liverpool go double Dutch

Dirk Kuyt’s banking on Ryal Babel as Liverpool go double Dutch

Jul 27 2007

by Chris Bascombe with the Reds in Hong Kong, Liverpool Echo

Dirk Kuyt

DIRK Kuyt hopes the Dutch connection proves a winner at Anfield this season as he tipped Ryan Babel to make a big impact at Liverpool.

Babel is free to make his first appearance of the China tour today after the permit shambles which ruled several players out on Tuesday was resolved.

The 20-year-old attacker will join Fernando Torres and Lucas Leiva in the squad against Portsmouth, as the Hong Kong fans finally get a glimpse of £35m of new talent. All three have received their international clearance.

Kuyt is an international team mate of Babel, but also played against the youngster in the Dutch league.

He believes the maturity of the player will be a major asset as he tries to settle in England.

“He’s one of the most talented players in Holland, and the good thing he is still very young,” said Kuyt. “He played a lot of games for Ajax at a young age, and also the national team.

“The tournament he played for the Under 21s was really good, so I’m really happy he’s now with us.

“I’m sure he can do a good job at Anfield.

“I’ve played a lot of games against him for Feyenoord, and also plenty of times in the same team for Holland. I know him very well, and all I can say is I’m really looking forward to playing with him at Liverpool. He’s very mature, athletic and fast.

“I believe his whole family is the same and he has a sister who is a top athlete at 100m.”

Much has been made of Babel’s similarity to Thierry Henry, although Kuyt says it will take time before such comparisons are valid.

“He is a friend of Henry, which is why it’s mentioned a lot,” he said. “But the only way to be the same kind of player as him is to work very hard every day.”

Kuyt recognises competition for places in attack will be stronger this season, but feels signs of flourishing partnerships have already been visible in the friendlies.

“I think we’ve all shown we can play together,” said Kuyt. “When you play for a club like Liverpool it’s good to have so much competition. We need four good strikers.”

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