Can this Liverpool misfit turn his disappointing form around?
It is the opinion of many Liverpool fans that Christian Benteke has some serious work to do if he is to start paying back the hefty price tag that was originally spent on him by Brendan Rodgers back in the summer.
The Belgian picked up a particularly large amount of stick after his performance against West Ham in the FA Cup where he failed to convert a number of opportunities and eventually saw his side beaten by a last-gasp header by Angelo Ogbonna deep into stoppage time.
It honestly looked like Benteke could have attempted to score for a week and he wouldn’t have found the back of the net. He is desperately short of confidence and will be looking to find a goal from anywhere to end his 11 game goalless run – which included two appearances against League Two Exeter in the FA Cup.
Jürgen Klopp continues to support his Belgian forward however stating that he had made great strides in his work-rate and that things would turn around for the £32.5m man.
His fantastic goal-scoring record at Aston Villa would certainly suggest that he is more than capable of turning his form around, but part of why he was so successful at Villa Park was that he was the centrepiece of the team that they were set up to supply him at every opportunity.
The Belgian possess a huge amount of aerial prowess and is lethal when the ball is looped into the penalty area, but Liverpool try and feed their strikers in with neat passing from their talented midfielders. Through his very nature, he is simply not as sharp as the likes of Daniel Sturridge and can struggle to get into the positions the rest of the team are looking for him in.
However, Benteke is only just over halfway through his first Liverpool season and there is plenty of time for him to adjust to Liverpool’s system under Klopp having spent the first part of the season trying to adjust to the system under Brendan Rodgers.
When you consider that Liverpool are a team in transition at the moment and Klopp will no doubt have some plans for how to change the team further to improve on their somewhat mixed results under his stewardship so far.
It is the opinion of many, including Mark Lawrenson, that Christian Benteke will simply never make an impact for Liverpool in the same way he did for Aston Villa.
The Belgian international does show glimpses of real quality for Liverpool when he is contributing in the same way he did at his former employers such as bringing players into an attack, but he is still lacking something in front of goal at the moment.
Unfortunately for Benteke, if you are arriving as a striker at a club for 32.5 million – you better supply the goods where it matters.
This opens another issue for Liverpool which is that when it comes to traditional target men, Anfield is not the place to be plying your trade at the moment. The set-up at Liverpool in recent years has simply not suited the classic target man and is much more suited to players such as turridge and in the past Luis Suárez, as they can offer more to the system at present.
It was stated by Michael Owen recently that in order to succeed at Liverpool “You have to be able to take a ball to feet, link play and be a really good football player” and this, along with the high pressure instigated by Klopp, is a big reason as to why the Belgian lack of mobility and technical issues are coming under such scrutiny in recent weeks.
Benteke has shown signs of improvement when playing as part of a front two, so maybe this is something worth noting for Jürgen Klopp as he attempts to help Benteke turn his form around.
It is likely to be a long remainder of the season for Christian Benteke, but like any striker that goes through a scoreless spell; he has to keep going.
The former Villa man has shown moments of goal-scoring quality this season but he will have to start to adapt to the system at Anfield or will quickly find himself becoming another player who never quite made the cut at Liverpool despite a big price-tag and reputation preceding him.
Benteke must also start converting more of the chances that come his way, as should his confidence start to grow, he could again become a fearsome prospect for opposition defences.
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