For years now Dirk Kuyt has been the unrelenting, run-till-he-dies epitome of all that Liverpool stands for as a player. His heart is on his sleeve in every match for the Reds and as the faithful fans learned last year once again he is clutch when the chips are down.
Kuyt emerged as the unlikely leading scorer for the Reds last season following the sale of Fernando Torres to Chelsea. The arrival of Andy Carroll saw the Geordie resigned to the treatment table for much of his first months, and Luis Suarez became the primary partner of Kuyt upfront.
After the loss of Steven Gerrard to injury in March, it became all about whether or not Kuyt could produce enough for the Reds upfront. He most certainly remembered how to score from his days in the Eredivisie and put it to use, nearly lifting the Reds into the Europa League.
However, this season he has been largely on the fringe of the first team. New signings Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have seen the 31-year-old veteran pushed down the pecking order. He still has found ways ton contribute as his goal against Brighton & Hove Albion proved to be the difference last week in the Carling Cup.
Now the Reds have to look forward. Other than two wins to end the month of September, there has been little to be thankful for as far as results this month. The losses to both Stoke City and Tottenham were hard to take. Gerrard’s return has to be the biggest boost so far and it could not have happened a weekend too soon.
Liverpool now stare down the first Merseyside Derby of the season this coming weekend at Goodison Park against rivals Everton. The “friendly derby”, as called for the amount of family ties that seem to cross paths between the clubs, is nothing of the sort and has only grown more heated of a rivalry in the last decade.
Dirk Kuyt has emerged as a go-to guy for the Derby in recent seasons and should be looked at as no less than such this season and this coming match.
He has scored a goal in the last three Derby days he has participated. Before that, he had a brace and an assist between the two Derbies of the 2007-08 season. In total he has five goals and one assist in 11 games against Everton.
With his record for the past two seasons, it is a lock that Kuyt should make the starting lineup not only for his goal-scoring exploits, but also because he is guaranteed to run Leighton Baines to death.
The matchup with Baines will be one of the toughest of the night and Kuyt has the mental toughness to get the job done. Jordan Henderson has dipped in form over the month and it is about time the veteran got his place back for at least this match.
Craig Bellamy would be a good option as well, but the fact that Kuyt knows all about this Derby and has been the Reds’ hero more than once means he deserves the chance to get at the Blues once again.