Wednesday 23 November 2011

Second time around suits Bellamy

Liverpool forward relishing his second spell at Anfield ahead of visit of former Club

Bellamy's combative style has made him a hit with the Anfield faithful

“Never Go Back”. It is often considered one of the unwritten truths of football - but Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy is happily disproving the adage.

The 32-year-old Wales international is enjoying his second spell at Anfield as the Reds prosper under another second-timer, Kenny Dalglish.

The Scot snapped up Bellamy from Manchester City on transfer deadline day in the summer and the striker will be eyeing a start against his former Club when City visit Anfield in Sunday's vital Barclays Premier League encounter.

It is a key period for Liverpool, who warmed up for the visit of the leaders with a win at Chelsea on Sunday – with Bellamy providing the assist for Maxi Rodriguez’s opening goal.

Playing a part in Liverpool’s success is a dream come true for the forward, who is a keen Reds fan.

His first spell at the Club saw him score nine times in 41 appearances in the 2006/07 season, but he struggled to fit in to the system employed by Rafael Benitez.

West Ham and Manchester City came calling and although he scored goals at both, it was a successful loan spell at Cardiff during last season’s Championship campaign which breathed new life into his career.

Liverpool, and Dalglish, were not the only ones trying to lure Bellamy away from the Etihad Stadium in the summer, but amid rumours of a move to Spurs, the player said he knew where he wanted to go.

“I knew Kenny was desperate to sign me. He showed his desire and straight away I said, "get the Liverpool deal done.'," he said.

"Liverpool at the end of last season, the passing and moving, the free-flowing football - this was the Liverpool I grew up supporting."
- Craig Bellamy

The influence of Dalglish was a key factor in tempting him back. The Scot was manager at Anfield from 1985-91, a successful spell which Liverpool won the league three times, much to the delight of a young Bellamy.

The forward says he feels the club is recapturing some of the buzz of that golden period under Dalglish – who took charge following the departure of Roy Hodgson in January 2011.

“[Moving back to Liverpool] was everything I wanted,” said Bellamy.

“I'd never sound negative against Rafa [Benitez] or Gerard Houllier because they did so much for the Club and were outstanding for the Club.

“But this was the Liverpool I grew up supporting. I watched the way they played towards the end of last season, the passing and moving, the free-flowing football. It felt like it was back.”

If Bellamy and Dalglish are disproving the “Never Go Back” motto, one thing that is certain is that fortunes in football will always ebb and flow. And right now, the Welshman’s former club City are in the ascendancy.

But with Bellamy sensing a return of the free-flowing Liverpool of old, it could be that he plays a part in helping Dalglish reproduce the glory days at Anfield.

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Key Points

  • Bellamy re-joined Liverpool from Man City in summer
  • Kenny Dalglish's side host City at Anfield on Sunday
  • Welsh striker supported Liverpool as a boy