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Bournemouth visit the perfect opportunity for Benteke to open his Anfield account

17 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Bournemouth visit the perfect opportunity for Benteke to open his Anfield account

How the striker performs this season is going to have a big impact on where Liverpool finish - his team-mates must play to his strengths

If last week’s narrow win at Stoke hinted at a new-found defensive resolve, then the visit of Bournemouth on Monday is an opportunity for Liverpool to prove their attacking instincts have not been blunted by the exits of Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling.

Getting the best from £32.5million summer signing Christian Benteke, therefore, is crucial.

The Belgian striker endured a frustrating debut at the Britannia eight days ago, touching the ball just 15 times in the penalty area and generally struggling to impose himself against robust opposition.

But his new team-mates must also take some responsibility, having made only six crosses during the entire match.

Spending big money on a 6ft 3in powerhouse and not whipping in balls for him to attack is like a festival goer purchasing a pair of Hunter wellington boots and neglecting to take them with them.

It is essential to play to his strengths.

Manager Brendan Rodgers must be mindful of this, however, and facing the newly-promoted side – who conceded a header in their 1-0 defeat against Aston Villa – is the ideal opportunity for Benteke to open his account for the club.

The sooner it happens, the better. Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane, two established Premier League strikers who struggled to adjust to the pressures of playing for the Anfield club, will attest to that.

And while there is no reason to think the same struggles will be endured by the former Villa man, his No. 9 shirt – worn famously by icons such as Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler in the past – will undoubtedly feel a little bit lighter on his shoulders once that first goal goes in.

The 24-year-old is 9/2 to score first in a Liverpool win and 12/1 to do so with a header at any time.

That would be a perfect outcome for Liverpool, who have not lost their opening league game at Anfield for 11 seasons and are 6/5 to score in both halves.

They must use the additional space on the Anfield pitch to penetrate the flanks – Jordan Ibe and Adam Lallana are likely to supply the width – while Philippe Coutinho, whose late screamer was enough to clinch all three points against Stoke, will look to create from a central area.

It would be insincere to suggest Bournemouth, who are making their first trip to Anfield since 1968, are likely to end the match with anything other than a defeat. This is a feeling that the players and their talented manager Eddie Howe must become accustomed to.

Despite being a team who like to dominate possession, the Cherries’ best opportunity will be to try and expose Liverpool on the counter-attack.

Last season’s top scorer Callum Wilson has the pace to threaten Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren, but the striker has to be more clinical than he was on the opening day if his side are to have any chance of picking up their first point(s) of the season.

Such an outcome seems unlikely.

Even though this is the first ever league meeting between the two sides, Bournemouth are unlikely to cause many surprises considering they have faced each other in successive seasons in the domestic cup competitions.

Liverpool won both of those games and it would require a performance significantly below their best not to make it three in a row.

Victory would take them into the Champions League places. The goals of Benteke will be crucial if are to stay there.

Liverpool v Bournemouth betting