Rafa Benitez decided to sell the £20 million Liverpool deal after six days.


Rafa Benitez decided to sell the £20 million Liverpool deal after six days.

It remains one of Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez’s most divisive judgments.

Robbie Keane was sold back to Tottenham Hotspur for £8 million, barely seven months after Liverpool paid £20 million to bring him to Anfield in the first place.

It’s still a bone of contention over a decade later, especially considering the Reds finished just four points behind winners Manchester United despite losing just two league games that season.

The Republic of Ireland international had a difficult start to his Liverpool career, not scoring his first goal until October, on his 11th appearance for the club.

He wasn’t helped by having to play out of position for the majority of the season, often leading the line in the absence of Fernando Torres, who had been brought in to drop in behind and partner him.

However, the striker began to find form over the Christmas season, scoring a well-taken half-volley against Arsenal in the Reds’ final pre-Christmas match before hitting a brace in a Boxing Day triumph against Bolton Wanderers.

But, less than a week after that win over the Whites, Keane had unintentionally taken his first steps towards the departure door, as Benitez began to envisage a future for his team without the striker.

The Irishman was shockingly benched for Liverpool’s next encounter, and final match of 2008, when they defeated Newcastle United 5-1 in a tie that saw them conclude the calendar year as league champions.

Despite his two goals against Bolton, and with Torres still out, Keane was put on the bench against Newcastle, with both Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel starting, while he was unused with David Ngog introduced ahead of him with 20 minutes remaining.

Six days later, he was recalled for Liverpool’s first game of 2009, a trip to Preston North End for the FA Cup third round, although he lacked the goalscoring touch he had displayed in his previous two games.

He was particularly wasteful in front of goal, squandering a string of chances before finally scoring. “The summary has come to an end.”


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