Should Villa Join The Rafalution?

After David Villa's impressive performances for Spain at Euro 2008, many expect him to leave cash-strapped Valencia, despite his willingness to stay. Would Anfield be a suitable destination?

18 League titles, five European Cups, and seven FA and League Cup trophies make pretty impressive reading for a club regarded as the most successful in the history of English football.

Sadly, you would have to be a 'Liverfool', to think that such great accolades can carry a club through a barren spell that shows an astonishing 18-year gap since their last league trophy triumph back in 1990.

The introduction of Rafa Benitez in 2004 promised major change and looked an astute appointment, given that the Spaniard had tasted domestic success with Valencia in 2002, guiding them to their first La Liga title in thirty-one-years.

Benitez dispelled any claims of being a one-hit-wonder when he achieved an historic La Liga and UEFA Cup double in 2004, before resigning as coach over transfer rumblings of discontent with the Valencia board - where he once famously proclaimed 'I asked for a table and they bought me a lampshade.'

It would be mighty interesting if Liverpool were to table a bid for the Spanish sensation that is David Villa.

A 'lampshade' in return would hardly suffice, as Liverpool already have the luckless Andriy Voronin and the underwhelming Dirk Kuyt – who many fans are sure is not 'Kuyt' up to the job of scoring the goals that will take Liverpool to the top of the Premiership.

Bring on the superstar that is Villa; undoubtedly the scene-stealer at Euro 2008, before having to bow out through injury. The hat-trick against Russia was merely a warm-up act for the supreme cool he showed to slot in the winner against Sweden in the last minute of injury time.

The 26-year-old Valencia striker's greatest quality is his composure in the box; where other strikers feel the heat and shoot with the heart – David Villa has all the time in the world, to navigate through the flurry of desperate lunges and reckless elbows before slotting the ball home.

Just picture this salivating scenario; David Villa and Fernando Torres playing up-front in a title decider against Manchester United in a packed Anfield with the Kop at full tilt.

A sea of collective jaws drop at the intensity of Liverpool's attacking football and neat inter-play, Liverpool's midfield is full of gusto and fluid passing movements, that leave the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand wandering aimlessly, much like Titus Bramble did during his days at Newcastle United.

An alternative scenario could involve Villa and Torres struggling for 90 minutes, as they receive little or no service from an overly defensive midfield, that prefers to play neat passing triangles in their own half, before venturing forward incrementally while the Kop derides them for their lack of guile and adventure.

Given the lack of quality on the wings, the latter scenario is more of a likelihood. That is unless you wish to classify Jermaine Pennant as a 'quality' winger.

The ex-Arsenal child prodigy has failed to produce the technically sound crossing ability he consistently showed at Birmingham City under the tutelage of Steve Bruce.

If Pennant is wide-of the-mark, where does that leave the incredibly right-footed left-wing wonder that is Ryan Babel?

The 21-year-old Dutchman arrived at Anfield with a strong pedigree having learned his trade at Ajax. A transfer fee of £11.5 million left supporters with little doubt of the quality he was likely to produce – not another Mark Gonzalez? Surely not...

If you thought Chelsea's Joe Cole was predictable when cutting in from the left hand side,to switch to his right, before shipping in a cross, think again.

Ryan Babel never seems to touch the ball with his left foot, for fear of it falling off. The flying Dutchman avoids the left by-line as if it was paved with burning embers. As a result, the lack of left-sided crosses is a key weakness in Liverpool's attack last season.

Such technical flaws are a key reason for Liverpool's attacking imbalance on the pitch. Steven Gerrard's dubious form of the last two seasons is surely a consequence of him covering too much of the pitch and trying to be a winger, striker and midfielder. No-one at Manchester United would dare steal Ronaldo's thunder when in possession of the ball.

Sadly such goings-on, happen with increasing regularity at Liverpool, as high calibre players such as Gerrard, Mascherano and Torres, have to mingle with less proven talents such as Lucas, Voronin, Crouch and Babel.

To think that the dream ticket of Torres and Villa, would lead to more goals is also a claim full of hot air.

It was no clearly no coincidence that Spain's Euro 2008 campaign underwent a rebirth when David Villa's exit paved the way for Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

Despite the quality on offer from Xavi and Iniesta, Villa and Torres hardly laid claim to being the next Romario and Bebeto. If anything Torres seemed more subdued in his performances while Villa stole the spotlight on more than one occasion.

Such lack of chemistry could be down to the complexities of playing a quarterly knock-out tournament, or a basic unfamiliarity of playing side by side on a regular basis like they would have had they played domestically.

Another more compelling reason is that Villa like all good strikers likes to lead the line – playing further up the pitch and harassing defenders, and thus reducing 'El Nino' to nothing more than a gust of wind.

If anything Benitez could be leading his very own Spanish Armada at Anfield.

Spending consistently on a mixture of the very good; read Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres and the downright turgid; read Yossi Benayoun, Dirk Kuyt, perhaps it would be wise to advise Rafa that his prospective fleet is not fit to take the title challenge to the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea or for that matter Arsenal.

History tells us that the Spanish Armada set sail with grand ambitions to invade and conquer, but fell afoul due to coming up against some real fire power which exposed a weak underbelly, that resulted in defeat and humiliation.

David Villa should take note and decide whether the right man is at the helm of Liverpool FC. If he ever did put pen to paper, he may even find himself warming the bench, faster than you can say Peter Crouch.

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