Over the weekend, it became official that Dirk Kuyt was heading for the moneyed pastures and stadium on flames of Fenerbache. While the papers might not be officially signed, he's said goodbye, so have the club, and he's been pictured with the Turkish club's scarf and shirt. It's all over at Merseyside for Dirk.
Kuyt is a player who generates maybe the most debate among supporters. I have made no secret of what I think of him, or at least what I think of what he became at Liverpool. Perhaps I focused too much on what Dirk is not, instead of what he is. And that's not his fault.
It wasn't his fault that Rafa Benitez really never gave him that long of a look at striker. It's not his fault he had to find a new position once Fernando Torres arrived. It's not his fault that he wasn't really cut out to play that position. So Kuyt should be appreciated, and very much so, for making all that work and productive as much as he did. Because he was never a right-winger. And yet, which he didn't star there or be quite as effective as some believed, he never came close to letting anyone down there either.
The first thing people will remember about Dirk is the work ethic. I and others would sometimes deride this as Kuyt having to look like and actually work so hard because he had no talent. Those who do make things look easy, whereas Dirk made playing the game look as hard as it actually is. But again, that's focusing on what he wasn't, and not what he was. And he always gave you that effort, even when every manager he played for at Liverpool was jerking him around at some point.
But the next thing people will remember is that Kuyt, no matter how limited the minutes were or odd the position, always came up with a goal when Liverpool needed it. And in the biggest matches. Chelsea, Inter, United, Everton, in two Finals, and many others felt the sting of the blunt Dutch object popping up from nowhere to either greatly sway or decide big matches. He just had a knack of where to be.
Which was odd, because he didn't have any pace or much of a touch, and at many other points in a match could miss the most obvious chances. But that frame was mix of brains and balls, and that's enough to take you pretty far in a lot of sports.
With Brendan Rodgers coming in, and his desire for a genuine winger out wide and Suarez and Carroll taking the spearhead of the striking role he prefers, there would be even less chance for Kuyt now. Even though I never warmed up to him, I certainly couldn't figure out why we had to keep seeing a clearly not up for it Downing and an out of position Henderson in the wide areas when we knew at least what Kuyt (and Maxi) could provide. Kuyt was probably a floor guy than a ceiling guy. Maybe he wouldn't wow you, but you knew that he would give you at least serviceableness...if that were a word.
But it's not a time for that now, as one of Liverpool's most loyal servants of recent times head to the exit. He didn't skulk or pout his way out, as some others have. He didn't deride Liverpool as not big enough for him, as others have. He did bitch a little about playing time, but then again if you were him and saw what was being deployed in front of you, you might have as well.
Kuyt came in 2006, and for six years he always gave everything he had, even if it was so limited. But he got so much from so little, and provided us with a lot too.
We've had our issues, Dirk. But thanks, you won't be forgotten and always will be appreciated. Best of luck to you this summer and beyond.