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Dirk Kuyt determined to fill Robbie Fowler’s boots

Dirk Kuyt determined to fill Robbie Fowler’s boots

Aug 8 2007

by Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo

Daniel Agger celebrates scoring against South China FC with Dirk Kuyt, who set him up - Picture: COLIN LANE

DIRK KUYT today spoke of his burning desire to fill the boots of Robbie Fowler and establish himself as one of Liverpool’s most prolific marksmen.

Many feel the summer departure of Fowler has left Rafa Benitez short of a natural predator in his squad.

But when Benitez was asked if record signing Fernando Torres was the mythical ’20 goal a season striker’ he’d been looking for, the Liverpool boss insisted the club already possesses one in Kuyt.

Since arriving on Merseyside a year ago, Kuyt has often played a deeper role to the one which led Liverpool to spend so heavily on his services.

Benitez’s recent observation is a sure sign the Dutchman will now be afforded the freedom to play higher up the park, and plunder goals with the same prolific zeal he did at Feyenoord.

Now the striker is relishing extra responsibility to improve Liverpool’s goal return.

“I’m sure I will get better this season,” said the Dutchman. “Last year I didn’t have a full pre-season or know the rest of the lads or the club so well. Now I’m more settled and any difficulties when starting at a new club are behind me. I can focus 100 per cent on my football and I have a good feeling about this season.

“Players like Robbie and Michael Owen are known as some of the best strikers Liverpool has ever had and it’s good for me to be able to have the chance to join those names. I want to be seen as a Liverpool goalscorer, and now I can’t wait to show it.

“I scored a lot of goals in Holland, but England is totally different because it’s so much more difficult. I believe I can do here what I did in Holland, but I also think I can do more for the team than just score goals. It’s important for me to do whatever job is asked, working hard or making assists.

“Last season was different for me, getting used to different partners in attack and also playing against better defenders. The Premiership has some of the best defenders in the world and you need to get used to that, but I’m looking forward to this season even more than last.

“Andriy and Fernando are different strikers to Robbie Fowler and Bellamy, so I may play in a different role. Fernando likes to come deeper for the ball, so if I play alongside him there’s the chance for me to play higher up the park, which I enjoy.

“That’s more how I was used to playing with Feyenoord. It all depends who I play alongside, of course, but what’s most important is to play, win the games and help as many players as possible to score goals.”

Kuyt’s goalscoring luck deserted him in the friendlies. That was summed up when a valid goal was chalked off against his former club last weekend.

“I thought it was a great goal, but then I looked to the side and saw the referee and linesman didn’t have a good view,” he said.

“It was disappointing it didn’t count, but it’s better for that to happen now than in a few weeks time.

“I didn’t have a lot of luck in pre-season. I feel really sharp and think I’ve been playing well and getting into good positions, but at times I’ve been unfortunate.

“In the game against Portsmouth in Hong Kong I came up against David James making a lot of good saves. Maybe I’m keeping the goals for the real competition. I’m sure the goals will come.

“Pre-season is important, but it’s all about the game against Aston Villa, so I’d rather score and win that match than score in the practice games.”


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