Dirk Kuyt may have started only half of Liverpool’s six Premier League matches so far this season, but he could prove the difference to whether Liverpool win or lose their upcoming Merseyside derby with Everton.
Kuyt’s three starts so far have witnessed victories away to Arsenal and at home to Bolton, while Liverpool should certainly have taken something from their trip to Stoke.
The Dutchman is particularly well admired for his defensive attributes, offering Liverpool greater protection down the right side when they are not in possession.
This could be especially vital in away fixtures, where it is largely expected that Liverpool will enjoy less possession than they typically have at Anfield.
However, Kuyt offers Liverpool more than just an energetic wide man, as the results show when he is picked in comparison to when he is left out.
Using Liverpool’s last 50 games as a guide, the club have picked up more points on average from the 40 games he has appeared, then in the ten that he has missed.
If this is not enough, Liverpool also score more and concede less when Kuyt is in the team, which suggests that he should be the first name on the teamsheet of Dalglish.
Throw in that Kuyt is Liverpool’s top scorer since Dalglish returned to Liverpool in January and this is another reason why he should be considered the manager’s leading ally.
Liverpool’s odds are 6/4 to beat Everton and a victory could see them move into the top four in the Premier League standings.
Meanwhile, all of the last three league games between the neighbours have ended 2-0 to either side, with Liverpool triumphing on two of these occasions.
It is 8/1 in the Premier League betting that Liverpool win 2-0, while it is the same price for the same result in Everton’s favour.