Analysis: Yossi must be prepared for the challenges ahead
Benayoun should brace for trading the beloved ball for the unfamiliar substitutes bench at Liverpool.
By ALLON SINAI
By signing with one of the biggest clubs in the world Yossi Benayoun has also undertaken the biggest challenge of his career.
Benayoun is set for many new experiences at Liverpool this season, but surprisingly they will not all be of a very pleasant nature.
Since making his debut at Hapoel Beersheba as a skinny 17-year-old, Benayoun has been a vital member of every club he's played in during the last 10 seasons.
The Israel captain was nearly always in the starting lineup in each of his former teams in Israel, Spain and England, something which is not likely to happen at Anfield in the coming months.
The playmaker, who has been accustomed to being the star of the side, whether at club level or international, will be just another squad member at Liverpool. To put it simply, in most matches Benayoun will be trading the beloved ball for the unfamiliar substitutes bench.
With Liverpool playing in the region of 60 matches a season (58 in 2006/07) there's no doubt he will get plenty of chances and minutes. However, the true test of the midfielder will be his ability to break into the lineup manager Rafa Benitez uses in the team's most important matches.
There is, however, no better time for the 27-year-old to put his talents to test. In every possible aspect Benayoun is at his prime and is ready to peak in a way no Israeli player has ever done before.
Benayoun has made the right decision by choosing to see how good he truly is, rather than settling for the comfort of a starting position at a smaller club. Succeed or fail, Benayoun is in for the most amazing experience of his life. He is playing his career without regrets and however the next few seasons unfold, that is something no one will ever be able to take away from him.
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