Sunday, February 8, 2009

I can become new Liverpool hero now Robbie Keane has gone

Ryan Babel believes the departure of Robbie Keane can finally make him a striking star with Liverpool.

Holland international Babel said: "I've had a really good talk with manager Rafa Benitez. I told him I am really happy at Liverpool.

"This is the place where I want to become a top-class player. Robbie has gone to Tottenham and that increases my chances so much more.

"I'm ready for more playing time. Meeting the manager, and having a talk about the future, was really important."

Babel joined Liverpool from Ajax in an £11million deal in the summer of 2007 but has been a fringe player since.

There have been increasing calls around Anfield for the Dutchman to take some of the pressure off Fernando Torres's shoulders.

Babel - who missed a sitter at Portsmouth last night - added: "I understand Liverpool is a massive club. When you play here, you know you are going to face so many matches every season.

"We play in all competitions and not a single player can play all of those matches.

"The manager invests so much time and energy in talking to us. He takes time with me. We talk about the system we play, about how he wants me and others to operate in his system. He has told me what my role can be in the future and what he expects of me now, if necessary as a winger.

"But I have not made a secret of my big desire to become a striker for Liverpool.

"That is where my ambition is and Benitez now knows that. I have told him that I have a real hunger for that position."

Some Liverpool fans are beginning to question Babel's progress, but the Dutchman insisted: "I have made big progress as a player at Liverpool.

"I train with the best players in the world and I feel as if I have one of the best coaches in the world.

"The Premier League is heaven for a player. You see and you meet the best of the best. Every opponent has quality and is physically strong. When I used to play at Ajax I could play and win matches without having to give 100 per cent. Under Benitez, and in the Premier League, that is impossible."

Babel still thinks Liverpool will win the title. He said: "Our rivals are going to drop points. They can't keep winning. It is important we show character when they make a mistake."

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