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Can Christian Benteke fire Liverpool into the Champions League?

23 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Can Christian Benteke fire Liverpool into the Champions League?

Never mind the transfer fee, the signing of a proven goalscorer is superb business for Brendan Rodgers

Talk of joining a ‘project’ is inevitable, but Brendan Rodgers’ acquisition of Christian Benteke is recognition that he can no longer afford to think primarily about the future.

Having purchased more misses than hits during his three years at the club, Benteke could be the Liverpool manager’s most important signing. And while questions over the £32.5m fee are inevitable, the Belgian will be worth the outlay should he fire the Reds to a top-four finish and/or silverware.

11/4 – Liverpool to finish in the top four

He is more than capable. Suggestions of an ill-fitting playing styles appear churlish when considering the numbers: Benteke has scored 42 goals in 89 appearances since coming to the Premier League in 2012. Only Sergio Aguero, plus the now-departed Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie, are ahead of him.

Obviously, Benteke doesn’t possess the all-round game of Suarez, the man he is effectively replacing. Few players compare favourably with arguably the game’s greatest striker, funnily enough.

The cushioned finish against his new employers in last season’s FA Cup semi-final is an example of his undeniable quality, however, as is his position as first-choice striker for the Belgium national side, who are currently third in the FIFA world rankings.

16/1 – Christian Benteke to be the Premier League’s top goalscorer

But there is always room for improvement. Benteke tended to score in clusters at Aston Villa – admittedly a side that, under Paul Lambert, appeared ambivalent about goals – so his challenge is to find form quickly and then maintain it over the course of the season.

The ability of his new team-mates – plus a full pre-season after missing out on last year’s due to the ruptured Achilles tendon that ruled him for the eight months – will help.

“I came here to win trophies,” the 24-year-old told Liverpool’s official website upon becoming second most-expensive transfer in their history. The prospect of the club claiming its first since 2012 – thus granting Rodgers the first major honour of his management career – has significantly increased with the addition of Benteke.

25/1 – Liverpool to win the Premier League