New Fulham signing Ryan Babel has opened up on his challenging period with Liverpool, admitting that he did not fulfil his true potential during his first spell in the Premier League.
After emerging as a hot prospect with Ajax, Babel moved to Liverpool in 2007, but struggled to cement a regular place in the starting lineup during his four years with the club. He was notorious for his behaviour on social media, clashing with fans, coaches and referees before being sold to Hoffenheim in 2011.
After signing for Fulham, Babel conducted an honest interview with The Guardian in which he claimed that Liverpool did not manage his development properly. He said:
"There were a lot of things that bothered me, that were written about me, like my mentality was not supposed to be good. I was young and I did a lot of things besides football, whether it was being involved a little with music.
“Then they took that part way out of proportion, that I was being more busy with music than with football. Of course not.
"I wanted to develop well and – as they promised me back then before I joined – just to be given the guidance I needed to become a better player. That didn’t happen and for a lot of different reasons I didn’t fulfil my potential I guess.”
Babel, who racked up 22 goals and 18 assists in 146 appearances with the Reds, struggled with discipline for several years after leaving Anfield. However, at 32-years-old, Babel reinvented his career with Besiktas before his move to Fulham, and his form also earned him a recall to the Netherlands squad.
The Cottagers will be desperate for Babel to bring his best form to the Premier League, with Claudio Ranieri's side currently sitting 19th in the league table. They are seven points from safety, although they will have the chance to reduce that gap when they face Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.