Netherlands international Ryan Babel has said that he struggled during his time at Liverpool due to the poor handling from then-manager Rafa Benitez. The Dutch winger is currently in the ranks of Besiktas, where he has become an influential player in the starting lineup.
Speaking about his time at Anfield, Babel revealed that the change of position from Benitez did not help his chances of adapting to the Premier League, he said: “This was my first time going abroad and also living by myself. The adaptation… every day was a new surprise. I soon figured that in the Premier League they call you a flop very quick. I was only used to 4-3-3. For me as a left-winger you have also a left midfielder and a left-back behind you. But in a 4-4-2 you are basically also the left midfielder so you have to help more in defence and I wasn’t used to that. That was mostly the criticism I got, that they couldn’t trust me in defensive work.”
Babel spent four years at Liverpool between 2007 and 2011 without silverware, and he followed to have spells with Ajax, Kasimpasa, Al Ain and Deportivo La Coruna before heading to Istanbul in January this year. The Dutchman celebrated Super Lig success with Besiktas during the second half of the previous campaign, and he is now aiming to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League where he is hoping to take on Liverpool.
His form at Basel at Besiktas has also caught the eye of national team boss Dick Advocaat, who recalled him to the Holland squad after a six-year absence. Nevertheless, the Dutchman was not able to change the country’s fate after they lost out on the World Cup playoff spot to Sweden, who finished second in their qualifying group with a better goal difference. Babel has made an impressive start to the 2017/18 campaign with Besiktas with six goals and an assist across all competitions.