Liverpool were in great form at the end of last season, with Maxi Rodriguez bagging two hat-tricks. This campaign has failed to build on that promise, with limited opportunities. Is he being treated fairly?
Argentine midfielder Maxi Rodriguez has been one of the principal victims of Kenny Dalglish's 'Buy British' policy.
With Dalglish electing to spend millions on Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam, Maxi Rodriguez has found his opportunities hard to come by, even with Steven Gerrard missing a large portion of the season with injury.
It is a little of a surprise, as when Dalglish got Liverpool playing at their best last April, Maxi Rodriguez was the star, scoring six goals in two games.
Dirk Kuyt was another star performer, but he too has found himself rotated more than ever, and this week he fired a warning shot across the club's bows that he wanted more first team games.
It could be argued that if he is sold this summer Rodriguez will not be missed, but that is partially due to the fact he spend more time on the bench than on the pitch.
With Liverpool struggling for goals, and home victories at a premium, surely Maxi should be given more of a chance between now and the end of the season, to show why he should not be sold this summer.
This season in the Premier League he has played just 367 minutes of football, not completing 90 minutes once.
He has not played in the league since the 3-1 defeat to Bolton Wanderers, a match Dalgish said would prompt him to wield the axe, and his actions since then show he meant his word, at least when it came to Rodriguez anyway.
But is is really fair to blame that terrible showing on Maxi?
Before that he had started just four games in the league, scoring the opener in a 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in one of them.
That is all he has started, also featuring in disappointing home draws against Wigan, Blackburn, and a 1-0 win over QPR.
Throwing him in here and there is never going to get the best out of him, so to judge him on the few games he has been given opportunities in this season is hardly fair.
Equally, he cannot be judged the right player for Liverpool on the basis of two hat-tricks against Birmingham City and Fulham, but what that did show is that there is a lethal player in there, who has not been given a proper opportunity to show what he can do this season.
He has only started two consecutive league games on one occasion this term, which is never going to see him put a good run of form together.
If he had been given a run in the side, he could have been an asset this season, but Dalglish's mind seems to be made up about him, and it is difficult to see him remaining at the club next season.
If Dalglish's signings, Henderson and Adam had been convincing, we would likely not be talking about Maxi Rodriguez, but given their disappointment, it is time to reassess whether the manager has made a mistake in cutting the Argentine adrift.
The question is, has King Kenny treated him unfairly this season, or has he made the right call on an under-performing player? Let us know your opinion.
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