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Rafa wants improvement from Babel

Rafa Benitez has insisted he has great faith in Ryan Babel, but the Liverpool boss has conceded the Dutchman has room for improvement.

Babel joined The Reds from Ajax in the summer of 2007 and showed flashes of brilliance in his first season at Anfield.

Many Reds fans felt he would be a regular starter this term, but he has been forced to content himself with a place on the bench.

Benitez claims the 21-year-old is more than a supersub, but feels he needs to improve on a number of aspects of his game.

"You need to remember that Dutch players coming to England with great quality have always needed time," Benitez told the club’s official website.

"Robin van Persie was like that and Dennis Bergkamp also needed time. The leagues are totally different.

"The Dutch league is very technical and you have two or three teams that are very good.

"Every game is about getting the ball, keeping the ball and playing nice football.

"Here it is harder, though Babel has played some fantastic games for us.

"So we still have a lot of confidence he can progress, but now he has to work hard on defence and learn how to challenge players.

"He has done well as an impact player, which is not easy when you are young, but we think he can do more than that for us."

Babel has been a regular scorer from the bench, with eight goals to his credit, but Benitez is working with the Dutchman in a bid to turn him into a regular starter.

"Our view of Ryan is a player who starts games and has an impact from the beginning, not just as a sub," said Benitez.

"But first of all he has to improve tactically and we are working with him on that.

"He is the kind of player who can change games and he has done that when coming from the bench.

"Now we want him to start games and change them."

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