Ryan Babel criticises former manager Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez
© PA Photos
Former Liverpool prospect Ryan Babel believes that the bizarre behaviour of Rafa Benitez contributed to his disappointing spell at Anfield.

Former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel has angrily declared that Rafael Benitez did not allow him to reach his true potential at Anfield.

Babel made a bright start in the Premier League after signing for Liverpool in 2007, winning the club's young player of the year award in his debut season.

The Dutch forward suffered a dip in form and struggled to earn a regular first-team place during his four-year spell in England, eventually leaving for Hoffenheim last January.

Babel returned to Ajax during the summer on a free transfer and believes that he is ready to rediscover his best form back in Holland.

He told The Mirror: "I don't think people in England ever saw the best of me. For a player to really be at his best you have to give him a certain confidence, but I did not feel appreciated by some people at ­Liverpool.

"Rafa Benitez promised me a certain ­development, but very ­quickly he took away that promise and it was a totally different ­situation. I don't think I ever really played more than three games in a row.

"But I love Liverpool, I still have a house there. I love the fans and I have great memories of my time at the club. It was a very good learning ­process for me. Now, I am mentally stronger and I know how to deal with certain situations and different people. The people at Ajax see that."

The 25-year-old comes up against Manchester City this week when they travel to Amsterdam in the first match of a Champions League double header.

Marco Reus
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