Liverpool FC Player Profiles
Babel signed his first professional contract in January 2004, after breaking through the club's youth ranks since arriving in 1998. He made his Ajax debut in a 4-0 win over ADO Den Haag in the Eredivisie on 1st of February, 2004. Ajax won the championship, the only time in his career at the club. This proved to be his only appearance of the season. He featured considerably more the following season, making 24 appearances and scoring 8 goals. He also made the breakthrough into the international side, making his debut as a substitute vs. Romania in a World cup qualifying match. He even managed to score a goal in Netherlands' 2-0 victory. The goal made Babel the youngest goalscorer in 68 years for the Netherlands and the fourth-youngest of all time. Babel had arrived on the scene and has been more or less a regular in Ajax starting eleven since then. Babel played 111 matches and scored 24 goals during his career at Ajax.
Babel is an experienced player despite his young age. He was a member of Marco van Basten's 2006 World Cup squad. He made one appearance as a second-half substitute for van Nistelrooy against Argentina in the group stages. Babel was a key player for the Dutch team that won the UEFA Under-21 Championship, which was held in the Netherlands in the summer of 2007. His second goal of the tournament came during his man-of-the-match performance in the final as the Netherlands defeated Serbia 4-1 to retain their title. Babel became third most expensive player in Liverpool's history in July 2007.
Much was expected of Ryan as a new season approached after he was unveiled along with Yossi Benayoun on the 13th of July. He made his Premier League debut as a substitute for Jermaine Pennant on the opening day of the season at Aston Villa. That was the 1st of his 30 appearances in the League, to which he added a further 19 appearances in cup matches. Ryan mostly played wide on the left and there were inevitably comparisons with another man who had made that position his own twenty years previously, John Barnes. Babel seemed to be very one-footed and liked to cut inside on his right foot to produce a pass or a shot; although he did also show that he was capable of taking on and beating a defender by going outside his opponent on his left foot. Nobody could complain at his goal contribution during the season. In addition to those he created, Babel scored ten times, 4 in the League and 6 in the cups, including a brace on the night Besiktas were put to the sword at Anfield in the Champions League group stage. His final two goals of the season were also in that competition, the one that made sure there was no way back for Arsenal in the quarter-final at Anfield and the long-range extra-time shot the briefly raised hopes of a sensational climax to the semi-final at Chelsea.
Babel failed to live up to expectations in his second season at Liverpool. He made only 13 starts and no less than 29 substitute appearances and only scored four goals. He drifts in and out of games and despite having an obvious talent he's in danger of never getting his Liverpool career properly off the ground.
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