By Christopher Boulay
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers recently made clear that he plans on keeping Welsh forward Craig Bellamy. The decision could be a vital one for the club, for many reasons.
Rodgers told Sky Sports that he doesn’t see any transfer occurring in this window.
“He’s a player,” Rodgers explained. “It would take a really special and unique opportunity for Craig to walk out of Liverpool and for us to go our separate ways.”
This is brilliant news, as not only does the club need his scoring touch off of the bench, but it also is essential that the club has someone of his experience and charisma in the front of the formation. Bellamy may not be “Liverpool” like Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher. However, he is probably the next closest footballer to them in terms of passion for all things LFC that we have currently in the squad.
Yes, he is Welsh. He has played in many places during his long career, but his return to Liverpool was the only time he has reappeared at a previous destination. It is no secret that Cardiff City is his preferred club. However, it is also well-known that he has a special place in his heart for Liverpool. That feeling is so big that he actually turned down a permanent move to the Bluebirds after the 2010-11 season completed and took a pay cut to play for LFC as well. To come to Liverpool really meant something to Bellamy, and he was a big part of the club last season.
When Liverpool needed a leader, Bellamy was there. Gerrard continued to struggle with injuries last season, Carragher lost his starting place and Pepe Reina had a forgettable year. Bellamy took charge when Suarez served his eight-match ban, and he did not disappoint. The Welshman grabbed four goals in January, helping improve morale at one of the worst points of the season.
Bellamy finished with nine goals – six of them in the Premier League – and was tied for second with Carroll in that category.
Many news sources keep posing the question, “Will you go back to Cardiff?” It may be a fair question, but Bellamy, the consummate professional that he is, refused to lend credit to the rumors, as long as he’s under contract.
”I’ve not said anything about my future and I’m not going to,” Bellamy said, according to WalesOnline. “I play for Liverpool and Wales and I’m representing Great Britain at the Olympics – and that is it.”
As he mentioned, another issue that arose this summer is the fact he is playing for the Great Britain squad in the summer Olympics. While it could be easy to complain about it, there isn’t much reason for fans to be frustrated. Bellamy has always had a dream to play in a major tournament, and this is the last chance he has. It will hurt to miss him and Suarez for the start of the season (as well as the summer tour for the Americans reading this), but what’s done is done. Let them play.
If he does stay for this season – and it looks as if he will – Rodgers will likely need to use him even more sparingly than last season. Bellamy’s knee problems are catching up with him, but he is a work horse and will likely be able to contribute where he can.
In whatever capacity he plays this coming year at the club, it will be vital. The man has proven time and again how much this club means to him. If they haven’t already, fans are finally finding out how much he means to the club.
Follow Chris Boulay on Twitter @chrismboulay