Ryan Babel is a strange one.
His talent was obvious, but we never really saw it consistently. He then all but disappears for years after leaving Anfield, before becoming a useful player in the twilight of his career.
If only he could’ve figured it out sooner. And it seems to be a regret of his,
“I spent almost four years at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish.
“When I left to go and play in Germany, where TSG Hoffenheim had become a big force, it was to become the biggest regret of my career”, Babel told The Mirror.
“The only reason I left was because I wanted to have more playing minutes to keep my place in the Holland team.
“But you don’t realise how dominating the playing style is at Liverpool until you play in a different team and league.
“I was brought up with really attacking football at Ajax. In the academy, you learn to play that way. When I moved to Liverpool, it was exactly the same. It is in the DNA of the club to play attacking football.
“I loved every minute I was at Liverpool. Fortunately, Dirk Kuyt was at Liverpool and he was a massive support to me.
“As a Liverpool player you are always in the spotlight. The club is massive.
“Scoring the winning goal against Manchester United at Anfield was the highlight of my time.”
Look, I put the obvious comparison to Gini Wijnaldum in the headline because everyone else did. But it’s kind of a sad human story more than anything. Babel is someone who could and should have achieved a lot more at Anfield. Wijnaldum will have his name sung after he leaves, but Babel won’t.
And honestly, that’s too bad.