Red of the Day - Maxi Rodriguez
Maxi, Maxi Rodriguez runs down the wing for me, der der der der der, der der der der der. In possession of one of the best player songs in recent years I loved Maxi Rodriguez, he was a pleasure to watch when he was here.
It didn’t really start out like that for him however. When he was signed on a free transfer in January 2010 the 'Benitez era' was drawing to an acrimonious close and it seemed like Maxi was going to be another one of those iffy free transfers that Rafa had taken a liking too. It wasn’t really until the King came in and, crucially, the club signed Luis Suarez that Maxi really started coming into his own and looked a credible threat when he was in the team.
Maxi and Suarez (like Kuyt and Suarez) struck up an instant rapport and the movement and interplay between the two of them was a joy to watch at times. The end of the 2010-11 season, when we sold Torres and bought Suarez and played with a wonderful freedom, was great to watch. We had the King back in charge, new owners, a shiny new pair of strikers and the pressure was off the players for the remainder of that season. Maxi started banging in the goals and scored two hat tricks in the space of a month (the latter against Fulham being a particular highpoint).
Maxi brought something to the team that we lost when both he and Kuyt left and that was an unerring ability to make runs into the box and be in the right place for loose balls. Both of them were masters of it so it was strange to see Maxi relegated to a more peripheral role the following season following the acquisition of Stewart Downing.
True Downing had more pace and was younger but Maxi brought that professional nous that comes with playing at a high level for your country (remember that strike against Mexico in the 2006 World Cup?) and with playing in multiple countries at the top level. In the end Maxi outscored Downing in his first season here and made it look effortless. Downing could have learnt a lot from Maxi and how he played in and around the box.
Maxi went back to Argentina to play for his boyhood club, Newell’s Old Boys, at the start of the 2012-13 season and he went with best wishes from most fans. Maxi wanted to go home and the club, rightly, didn’t want to pay a fringe player the money associated with a free transfer, although I thought we should have kept him around purely for morale as Suarez loved him and they seemed to get on very well off the pitch.
Maxi played a small part in Liverpool history but he was a good, honest pro who just got on with the job. Plus we’ll always have that song to remember him by. Altogether now, Maxi, Maxi Rodriguez runs down the wing for me…