Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool are still without a win in the Premier League but can their loan star Nuri Sahin inspire them to correct that?
Wednesday night’s League Cup victory over West Brom hinted at the impact the Turkish international can have at Anfield this season, as he netted two vital goals to take them through to the fourth round.
The first a strike from 30 yards out that slipped past the unlucky Ben Foster in goal for West Brom, just beaten at his near post after 17 minutes. The equalizer gave the Reds hope of progression in the competition after going a goal down after just 3 minutes to a Gabriel Tamas goal that resulted from a free kick, misjudged by their stopper Brad Jones.
The game tied at 1-1 Brendan Rodgers looked a man under pressure but he was decisive, bringing on Jerome Sinclair, Liverpool’s youngest ever player at just 16 years and 6 days old, alongside Spaniard Suso. The latter made the second goal, with a strident run into the West Brom penalty area before setting the ball down just in front of the goal, making Nuri Sahin’s winner at the Hawthornes a tap in.
The Turkish international has expressed his intent to earn a recall for Turkey, having slipped down the pecking order, he found himself benched by manager Abdullah Avci’s for Turkey’s World Cup 2014 qualifiers against the Netherlands and Estonia in August.
"Recently I've experienced how quickly an injury can set you back. And, of course, I want to be in the starting XI for Turkey. That's my main aim and I think I'm close to achieving it."
Said Sahin who suffered a torrid time at Real Madrid after a succession of niggling injuries saw him make just four appearances in Jose Mourinho’s side last term – the competition at the Bernabeu rendering him surplus to requirements, in a team that boasts both Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso ahead of him.
The 24-year-old made his name at Borussia Dortmund by becoming the youngest player ever to play in the Bundesliga at just 16 years and 334 days old in August 2005. He broke the records again that November by becoming the youngest player to score a goal in the German top flight, against FC Nuremberg.
A loan spell in 2007 at Feyenoord saw him reunited with former Dortmund coach Bert van Marwijk, whose influence on his development was remarkable and, upon his return to Dortmund, he staked his claim over the Bundesliga, starting 33 of Dortmund’s 34 games in the 2009/10 season, scoring 4 goals and making 8 assists.
In the 2010/11 campaign, Dortmund won the Bundesliga title and Sahin was voted the league’s player of the year, tallying an impressive 7 goals and 8 assists as a deep-lying player.
Sahin now hopes he can find his form for Liverpool this season, something that will no doubt ease the pressure on Brendan Rodgers, after opening his Liverpool account on Wednesday night,
“I'll give everything to have a successful season at Liverpool and to play as many games as possible.”
With Jonjo Shelvey suspended for three games and Lucas still out injured, this is the perfect time for Sahin to build on his midweek performance and stake a claim for the first team, even when everybody is fit and available.
image: © peterfuchs