Welcome back for another edition of Liverpool Lore as we are turning our focus to one of our favorites of all time, the Dutch ace Dirk Kuyt.
Kuyt joined Liverpool before the 2006-07 season. He came over from Dutch giants Feyenoord. Upon his arrival, he was quoted saying;
“I only wanted to leave Feyenoord for a really big club, and that is what Liverpool are. They are a fantastic big club and it will be a real pleasure to play here.”
At this time, he was still being deployed as a true striker and he began firing right away. He had double digit league goals in his debut season at Anfield as he bagged 12 and created another 4.
However, it was not just for his goals that he quickly became a fan favorite. His unrivaled work ethic and his willingness to help out defensively proved his mettle quickly to the Reds faithful. Kuyt was also very willing to show his own appreciation for the fans after each match.
The following season was not nearly as rosy for the Dutchman as the goals dried up in the Premier League, even though he still produced 5 Champions League goals in the 2007-08 season.
A special trait for Kuyt was his ability to raise his level to meet special occasions as he would routinely score big goals in vital matches for the Reds. This knack for being in the right place in such big moments is not something every attacking player excels at.
Over time, he was beginning to be deployed as a winger as his positional versatility would become something that Jurgen Klopp would be salivating over.
With the sensational Spaniard Fernando Torres playing through the middle, he and Steven Gerrard stole most of the headlines. However, Kuyt was an invaluable asset to the side as his endless stamina allowed him to track up and down the wing with no problem.
In February of 2010, Kuyt scored against Everton which was both his 50th Liverpool goal and also his 4th goal in the Merseyside derby.
This was a healthy return for a man that was not even the premier attacking option on the majority of Liverpool teams he played in.
More successful returns came in the 2010-11 season before things began slowing down for the Dutchman in the following season, which would prove to be his last with the club.
Before he left, he made sure to score an 88th minute winner to eliminate the hated Manchester United from the FA Cup. It was as if he knew he needed to make one more big game performance for the club. The ensuing summer, Turkish giants Fenerbache triggered his stunningly low €1 million release clause.
Kuyt departed Liverpool after playing 285 times and scoring 71 goals along with 43 assists. However, he is fondly remembered for when he scored a lot of those and his strong endeavor each time he walked on the pitch.
There have been few players that have walked through the Anfield doors since his departure that can match his heart and passion on the pitch. If he could transfer his seemingly boundless limits of energy to players in this side, Klopp’s men will be well off.
As it were, Dirk Kuyt burst onto the scene at Liverpool and he was a vital player in almost every big match during his 7 years with the Reds.
To this day, he is still a beloved figure at Anfield and someone of his ilk would be perfect to add to the current edition of Liverpool. If needed, you would know he would run his heart out to be here and leave it all on the field.
That’s why there is only one flying Dutchman for the Reds.