Babel upset at playing role of Liverpool's 'supersub'

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The Independent Football

The Liverpool winger Ryan Babel has spoken of his growing frustration over his lack of first-team opportunities under manager Rafael Benitez this season.

Babel, 22, has started just two Premier League games, despite Liverpool's surprising loss of form as they have lost five of their 12 matches. Instead the Dutchman has come off the bench nine times in the league and Champions League, scoring three goals. But the role of substitute is not enough for Babel, who told Dutch journalists while away on international duty with the national team, who drew with Italy on Saturday, that he should be given a prolonged run in the Liverpool side. He also admitted that he finds continually playing from the substitutes' bench challenging.

"To be a supersub is mentally hard," Babel said. "It is clear I have enough qualities to be in the starting XI of Liverpool. But when you never get a real chance, it's difficult. The Liverpool fans are happy with me as a substitute, but I didn't get a chance yet as starter. I have never played three matches in a row from the start."

The winger, who has struggled for form following his £11.5m move from Ajax in the summer of 2007, revealed that Benitez had told him he would start more games in future. Babel scored a spectacular goal in the 1-1 draw with Lyons in the Champions League two weeks ago to remind Benitez of his talents. The winger admitted his patience is wearing thin, but said he believes the Liverpool manager will be as good as his word.

"I'm not the type of player who gives up," Babel added. "Benitez told me he sees me as a starter in the Liverpool XI in the future. At this time I still believe him. To be underestimated is my biggest motivation. I will take revenge in different ways."