Rafa Benítez issues ultimatum to Ryan Babel

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Liverpool manager Rafa Benítez has warned Ryan Babel he must make an impact this season or risk becoming surplus to requirements at Anfield.

The 22-year-old was regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in Europe when Benítez signed him from Ajax Amsterdam for a fee of £11.5 million.

In his two years at Anfield, though, Babel has flattered to deceive, starting just 22 Premier League games in 24 months.

Benítez has shown patience with the Dutch international but now issues a blunt message with regards what he expects this season.

"Ryan knows he has to perform at a different level this year, and he understands that he has to be more consistent," Benitez said in The Mirror.

"When he first signed, he was a young player, coming to a top side, in a different country and trying to adapt to a different style.

"Early on maybe he had problems understanding the style. The next he was much better in some games, but not consistently.

"But now he knows what's going on and hopefully he can perform as well.

"We will have around 60 games this season so Ryan will have chance to prove himself, but it's important to have the right mentality – I am confident he can do well this season."

Benítez though, believes that players from the Netherlands do struggle to settle down in the Premier League.

The Spaniard added: "If you look at all the Dutch players who have come over here, and I mean ones with real quality too, they always need longer.

"Look at Dennis Bergkamp and Robin van Persie – they both needed time.

"Dirk Kuyt is a finisher and a worker, and it doesn't matter whether he's in England, Spain, Netherlands – he will always be working hard, and that is the example he needs."

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