Liverpool’s summer signing Boudewijn Zenden says his latest appearance for the Reds may have been his best so far for us. Against Blackburn on Saturday the Dutch midfielder was unlucky to just miss out on a goal when his excellent free-kick hit the bar. Zenden says he’s desperate to open his account for the European Champions: "It was very close and I’m very eager to get my first goal for the club. Saturday was the closest I’ve been and I’m still looking forward to getting off the mark."
Zenden was signed to give Liverpool width, but was never intended by Rafa Benitez to playing in every game. At Middlesbrough last season he spent more time playing centrally, but competition at Anfield is much stronger in that part of the field. The rotation system employed by Rafa – important to the Reds with so many games to play in this extended season – is something Bolo isn’t used to.
Speaking yesterday, Zenden said of Saturday’s victory: "Maybe it was my best game for Liverpool so far. It’s not always easy to be in and out of the team, but that’s how the manager works and it’s up to the players how they adapt. There are four competitions to compete for and he wants to make sure everyone is fit."
He continued: "I was pleased to be on the teamsheet. I thought I had a good game – I was allowed to play in the middle more and support the strikers and I think we caused a lot of problems." Zenden revealed that it was a tactical change early in the game that allowed him to play a more central role: "We decided to start off in a 4-4-2 formation but then after a few minutes change to a 3-3-2-2."
With the imminent return to fitness of Aussie winger Harry Kewell, Zenden is going to find himself with some direct competition. Kewell’s best position is out wide, but he also like a more central role if it’s offered to him. Zenden says playing further infield is his favoured position: "I was pleased because I like to get forward and in the middle you’re more involved and you are always around the ball."
Regardless of this, Zenden will be happy to get as many games under his belt as possible this season for the Reds. Bolo’s near-miss free-kick came from the professional foul that saw Zurab Khizanishvilli sent off – which in turn had come from Bolo’s pass to Djibril Cisse. Creating goalscoring opportunities isn’t something Zenden feels Liverpool are having problems with – it’s putting them away that’s been the problem so far: "We do create but we’re not getting the goals. The biggest problem is when you don’t create. If you have to rely on set-pieces it’s a problem, but in modern football a lot of goals come from set-plays. We are getting the chances and I’m confident we will get the goals from open play, but in the end the most important thing is getting any type of goals. What you want is three points and if you can get more goals that’s great for the fans."
Zenden says he shares Cisse’s delight at getting the goal after a week of speculation about the relationship with the boss: "Whenever there is a break there is a lot of things written in the paper so it’s good for him to get the goal."