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Rafa defends Kuyt's work ethic November 04 2007

Rafa defends Kuyt's work ethic November 04 2007

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has defended Dirk Kuyt, insisting the striker cannot be criticised because "his work rate is fantastic".

The Holland international could easily have had a second-half hat-trick in Saturday's goalless draw at Blackburn.

His current lack of energy was summed up two minutes from time when he blazed over from six yards with just former Reds goalkeeper Brad Friedel to beat.

The 27-year-old scored 14 times last season after his transfer from Feyenoord in August 2006, but has struggled this term in front of goal.

And although his work-rate remains among the best in the Premier League, Kuyt's touch appears to have deserted him.

He has only managed to score three goals in 13 matches this campaign with two being penalties against Everton.

However, with record signing Fernando Torres expected to be out for at least another couple of weeks with a torn adductor and Peter Crouch out of favour, Benitez has little option but to persist with Kuyt.

"When you miss chances and you have two or three, it means you are there. If you are not there, you cannot miss the chance," said the Spaniard.

"I will not criticise Kuyt because he plays a lot of games and over 90 minutes his work rate is fantastic.

"He is creating chances. When you have a player who can create three or four chances for himself, normally sometimes he will score so I think I must be pleased and positive with Kuyt.

"We need to profit from the work he is doing up front and it will be easier for him to score if his team-mates can score the first goal."

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