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Oussama Assaidi and Stokeholm Syndrome

If you believe the cave paintings on the Stoke City official website, Oussama Assiaidi's pulling for a Stoke win on Sunday, but it's all part of the tricky balance players must strike when they're away from their parent club on a temporary basis.

Richard Heathcote

I don't know if anyone roots for Stoke City in the traditional sense, but there's probably people who hope that something not entirely terrible happens to them on a regular basis. We're just playing the probabilities here, in the same way that there have to be people out there who enjoy Two and A Half Men and eating raw onions, but the unfortunate reality is that sometimes things just aren't right.

So you'll have to forgive Oussama Assaidi for ostensibly cheering on his temporary side ahead of the weekend's action; the Moroccan winger has enjoyed a successful spell of late for Mark Hughes' side after a fairly anonymous start, scoring a number of notable goals and cementing his spot as a squad regular. And, if his words ahead Sunday's meeting between the sides is any indication, form has led to affection for his temporary home:

"I would love to be involved in the game, but through rules and regulations that isn't possible unfortunately. There is nothing I can do about it, apart from sit on the sidelines and cheer my teammates on, which is what I will be doing on Sunday. I want Stoke City to win the game of course, because this is where I am playing my football at the moment, and for as long as I am here I will want us to win every game we play."

Which would be controversial if it wasn't part of the typical back-and-forth that loanees within leagues have to do; they can't take part in the actual match, but no doubt their current club's entirely tactful media interns are eager to paint a picture that places sentiment firmly in the camp of their present dwelling. Reality is far more complex, especially for a player who hasn't really made a home in either location since making the move to England from Heerenveen last summer.

Regardless of what happens on Sunday, the interesting part of the story pertaining to Liverpool supporters when it comes to Oussama Assaidi won't be about split loyalties or bonding with your captors, but more about how--if at all--the club sees him fitting into their longer-term plans.

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