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04th Dec 2015

Steven Gerrard reveals why Robbie Keane only lasted 189 days at Liverpool


Patrick McCarry

He was the goal-poaching striker that Liverpool were looking for but Rafa Benitez was not so sure.

Robbie Keane arrived at Anfield in the summer of 2008 as a £19.3m signing and one Reds fans hoped would propel them to success in the Premier League and Europe.

Fernando Torres was already flying after his 2007 transfer from Atletico Madrid and Keane was envisioned as another piece in the attacking jigsaw.

The Dubliner scored five goals in 19 appearances [few of them starts] before Benitez sold him back to Tottenham, for £12m, in January 2009. His dream move lasted just 189 days.

Steven Gerrard was one of the many Liverpool players who felt Keane never got a fair shake of the stick.

Speaking on Today with Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1, Gerrard said, “I don’t think that was all down to Robbie.

“Robbie came and worked hard on the training pitch and scored some important goals for us.” He added:

“I think there was a bit of clash with Rafa Benitez maybe, but I certainly wanted him to stay around for a long time. Hee’s a very talented player and I like playing with him so I was sad to see him go.

“It was more down to Rafa trying to change the way Robbie played and, for me, the reason we bought Robbie was for him to play off a front man and cause damage between defence and midfield.

“Rafa was trying to change that and change his game and I don’t think Robbie was too happy with that, I think that’s where the clash came.”

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Gerrard told the radio presenter he would be “stunned” if Keane, his LA Galaxy teammate, did not make Ireland’s Euro 2016 squad.

“Martin O’Neill will take him for his experience, he’s capable of scoring big goals in big moments and them players are very hard to come by.

“I know he hasn’t played as much in the last couple of qualifiers and the play-offs but Martin’s had him alongside him on the bench and Robbie does a terrific job on the pitch but also off it as well and I’m sure he’ll want him around.”

Gerrard is back training with his former side at their Melwood base and says it is very exciting.

“It’s a place where I’ve spent an awful lot of time training and working hard over the years since the age of 8,” he said. “So to be welcomed back and to join in training with the lads and see all the staff that I worked with for a very long time has brought back some fantastic memories, so I’m really enjoying going back in.”

Sean O'Rourke Steven Gerrard

As for a potential Premier League comeback, Gerrard feels he can still make the grade.

“I played at that level for an awful long time,” he reasoned. “It was only five months ago that I was playing at that level; so my feelings haven’t changed, I still feel as if I’m good enough to play at Premiership level.”

“Maybe my body wouldn’t allow me to do that every three or four days,” he conceded, “but I certainly think talent-wise I’ve got the ability to.”

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