Exiled Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf seems to have forgotten that until someone tells him otherwise, he’ll be back at Melwood after the season is over.
He’s currently on loan at Bolton, where he’s wanted on a permanent basis, but Bolton don’t want to pay the asking price for him. Rafael Benitez has already made it clear that other clubs than Bolton have shown interest in the Senegalise forward, and that he’ll use him as squad player if the right fee isn’t received during the summer.
What’s the best way of endearing yourself to the Liverpool fans, just in case you do have to return? CLUE: Liverpool fans have a slight dislike of a certain team who play down the road in Salford. A certain team that see as their biggest hero of the nineties a certain Frenchman with a taste for fishing. The one who tried to do two sports at once – Football and Karate.
Remember his name? Eric Cantona? He was banned for eight months for throwing himself feet first into the crowd at an opposition fan after being sent off. That was against Liverpool’s opponents today, Crystal Palace. Cantona was then allowed back one game early after Sky and the FA made Liverpool’s game against Manchester United get played a day later than orginally planned.
Diouf has been in trouble yet again (allegedly – he denies any wrongdoing himself) and is in court over an incident at a Middlesborough game late last year. The same player was in trouble with the courts of Scotland after spitting on a Celtic supporter during a UEFA Cup tie.
Diouf was probably the first player that really started to sew the seeds of doubts about Gerard Houllier into the minds of LFC fans. Preferred by Houllier over Nicolas Anelka, who’d shown great promise on loan at Anfield, Diouf rarely scored, got more bookings than goals, and cost Liverpool £10million – not to mention his wages. What’s he said to try and ensure someone else is paying his wages next season?
"I hope to follow the example set by Eric Cantona." Pardon? "If Cantona can come to England, come through some of the mistakes that he made early in his career and win over the fans, then so can I."
Ok El Hadji – try and get out of that hole you’ve just dug for yourself. "Cantona was a player that I respected. He was someone who also made mistakes but he is still remembered with great respect by supporters." Great respect? He’s not respected by many outside of Salford.
The hole’s getting bigger, say something to get yourself out of it quickly. "That is now my aim. I don’t want to leave England branded as a trouble-maker. There were times when it looked certain that Cantona’s career could not survive. But he was a man of character and he was able to get through it and win respect."
Go on Dioufy – one last chance to save yourself. Say something true about Cantona: "He is the role model I now have to use. I have a lot of regrets about some of the things that I have done." Obviously you’ve no regrets about being such a waste of money for Liverpool then? No intentions of coming back and making an effort for the Reds if nobody wants to risk buying you? "Maybe it is too late for me. I hope not because I will not give up on trying to be successful in England and becoming a player the fans respect."
El Hadji Diouf will be playing for Bolton today hoping to keep them breathing down the necks of his former team-mates. What’s interesting about Diouf is that before Benitez had even got to the club he was told he had no squad number and would be sold if possible. Makes you wonder if there’s even more to what’s gone on behind the scenes. Not once during the recent striker crisis was there any mention of bring Diouf back to Anfield. Even Le Tallec was forgiven for his big-mouth comments from the start of the season.