As it is, the enigmatic Dutch forward has spent the week preparing for a game in the Midlands and has done so with the knowledge the onus is on him to make the most of an unexpected opportunity.
Both West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur – who face West Brom at The Hawthorns this afternoon – expressed an interest in taking Babel from Anfield before the window shut and had Roy Hodgson been able to draft in a striker, he would have ended up at one of those clubs.
So close was Babel to leaving Liverpool that actually he boarded a plane at John Lennon Airport bound for the capital but, ultimately, he never reached the destinations that had been mooted; now he finds himself back in the thick of things with Hodgson.
Perhaps the best he can hope for at St Andrews in 24 hours is a cameo role from the bench, as Liverpool aim to kick off a busy month by pilfering three priceless points, but in the coming months he is going to be presented with chances.
Hodgson has made it clear there will be occasions when he takes Fernando Torres out of the firing line, which means he will require a reliable deputy – the onus is on Babel, then, to make the most of his lucky break and secure a permanent stay on Merseyside.
“For two years, Ryan hasn’t had much of a look in,” said Hodgson. “He was brought in with a lot of pomp and ceremony after winning the Under-21 European Championships. I saw him play several times there as I was working for UEFA. He was being chased by clubs all over Europe.
“But since coming here, he hasn’t fulfilled that potential. So when there were offers for him, we were prepared to allow him to go and speak to those close but we made it perfectly clear that other things would have to slot into place to allow him to go.
“They never slotted in to place but I have to say I am more than happy to work with Ryan Babel. It is up to him to convince me. No doubt that if by January he hasn’t succeeded in convincing me that he is the player we need, then maybe we will be in the transfer market.
“But he is working very well and, perhaps, we will all be happy in the end that the last minute transfer did not come about.”
“I haven’t seen enough of him in action,” said Hodgson. “He came back from the World Cup very late and I have been working with him now for three or four weeks. I think in those three or four weeks, he has done very well and applied himself well.
“He wants to immerse himself into the type of work we are trying to do, which is very commendable but it is far too early for me to have a strong opinion on him as a player. He has been at the club three years and people have made judgements on him.
“As far as I am concerned, it is a fresh start for everyone. There is a new coach at the club and there is a chance for him to wipe the slate clean and to show what a good player he is. It will be up to him to do that but, at the moment, I can’t ask for any more.
“But I’m not prepared to make any bold statements until I know a bit more and until I have seen him in some games. At the moment, all I am seeing of him is in training and training and games are two completely different things.”
Clearly, it is up to Babel to take that on board. Some, inevitably, will say there is still a doubt about his future but one thing that cannot be argued is the fact Fernando Torres will start at St Andrews.
“I will use these players (Babel and Ngog) in some games to give Fernando the rest he needs,” said Hodgson. “It is up to them to prove to me that they deserve to be Fernando’s competitors. They will get their chances and we will see if they can take them.
“I think he will be able to play three games in seven or eight days. If you can spare your players, you want to do that. He is as capable as anyone of doing it. But how fair is it to ask players to do that on a regular basis? It would be tough.
“The thing about Fernando is that he went to the World Cup with an injury, played throughout without being fully fit and we are anxious now to make sure through this season that he will be fully fit. When he is fully fit, he will be able to play three times a week.
“But I am hoping that won’t happen because if I am having to do that, week after week, I will lose players like I did at Fulham. You just can’t ask them to take on that work load at the level we are talking about.”
Hey Roy, I think it'd be real swell if you let Torres get a bit of rest and start Babel every once in a while. But, since you clearly don't know what it means to sub players in, I think Babel is fucked :/ And also, can we get a Roy tag up in here?