Having played three matches this preseason, Liverpool outcast Alberto Aquilani seems to have proved his quality. There were reports of him being sold to Juventus and AC Milan and more recently Florentina, but Kenny Dalglish seems to have stuck to his man.
Now that Steven Gerrard is injured and ruled out at least till September, Aquilani's services are necessary to the club. King Kenny opted to give Aquilani ample playing time in four of the five friendlies played so far, and the midfielder seems to have proved his worth.
John Henry has gone as far as to tweet that Aquilani (and N'gog) are exceptional players and fully deserve to play for the club. His exact tweet was, "One missing link last year: Acquilani (sic), Put the ball near Ngog and the goal and it's going in. Too much talk of them somewhere else." Though Henry misspelled his name, he seems to have admired his game against Malaysia IX.
Not only that, but he was also quite impressive at Juventus last season. He clocked 2,500 odd minutes, and that is pretty good for a player who has a reputation for being injury prone. Aquilani managed to score two goals and provide five assists, and that was only one less than the top assist provider for Juventus last season, Milos Krasic. He also made the highest number of passes for Juventus (1,655) with pass completion percentage of 83 percent.
Aquilani against Malaysia IX
Aquilani played a wonderful passing game against the Malaysian side. Though he didn't get on the scoresheet himself, he pitched in with two wonderful assists. The first one was a neatly slotted through pass to David N'gog, disecting the opponent defence and enabling N'gog to fire in a powerful shot. The next one was a wonderful slide-rule pass to Maxi Rodriguez.
Against Hull City
Although Liverpool had a very bad day as a team, Aqua did enjoy a few good moments in that game. He was let down by his partner Christian Poulsen, but he did manage to complete quite a few passes.
This again was a disappointing performance by a depleted Liverpool side. The first half was a nightmare for the Merseyside club, but the second half was a definite improvement. This was brought about by the introduction of Aquilani in the second half.
The Italian looked at his best and was dictating the midfield. His efforts made sure that the second half was dominated by Liverpool. He almost scored too, getting at the end of a Dirk Kuyt cross, but Ufuk Ceylan, the Galatasaray keeper, did well to keep out the shot from close range.
Whatever be his past record, there is no denying that Aquilani is an pretty good player. And to compete at the highest level, Liverpool will need all the quality players they can get.